Skip to main content

Full text of "Historic doubts as to the execution of Marshal Ney"

See other formats




Law Booksellers, &c. 


Presented to the 


by the 



(From an Oil Painting at Versailles.) 




%PjJ 'fuSTRATIONS * * * 








2 and 3 Bible House 


Copyright, 1895, by THOMAS WHITTAKER. 

o tbe flDemot of nt flDotber, 

who taught me to be true to God and man 

tbe flDemors of ^ebulon Bafrfc ttJance, 

War Governor, United States Senator \ the bravest' of the 

brave in all that was best in Statesmanship^ 

and North Carolina's greatest son, 

tbte volume Is affectionately inscribed* 


THE book is written. The difficulties have been very great 
almost insuperable. The fires have been exceedingly hot. 
But the mountain-top is reached. Let the dead past bury its 
dead. I began this investigation more than twelve years ago. 
When I first heard the report that Peter S. Key was probably 
Marshal Key I said to myself, "It maybe true, /would 
not have shot Stonewall Jackson. " I began to make inquiries 
of those who had been intimately acquainted with Peter S. 
Key and whose integrity no one could question. I found 
that P. S. Key possessed a strong, clear, vigorous, well-bal- 
anced mind, and that he was a man of the highest character. 
From that moment I believed he was Marshal Key, and now 
I know it. I am deeply grateful to the many friends who 
have so nobly aided me in this work of love. I wish I could 
take each one of them by the hand and express my gratitude 
in person. I can never forget their kindness. May Heaven's 
best blessings be theirs. I am under very especial obligations 
to the following gentlemen : The Rev. Dr. Morgan Dix, 
rector of Trinity Parish, Kew York ; the Rev. Dr. Joseph K. 
Blanchard, rector of St. James's Parish, Philadelphia ; the 
Rev. Dr. Arthur C. Kimber, minister in charge of St. Au- 
gustine's Chapel, Trinity Parish, Kew York ; the Hon. Seth 
Low, LL.D., President of Columbia College, New York ; 
Joseph P. Caldwell, editor of the Observer, Charlotte, K. C. ; 
Captain Samuel A. Ashe, Raleigh, K. C. ; the Rev. Dr. Will- 
iam A. Wood, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, Statesville, 
K. C. ; T. B. Kiiigsbury, editor of the Messenger, Wilming- 
ton, K. C. ; Hon. James F. Izlar, Orangeburg, S. C. ; Rob- 
ert Macfarlan, Florence, S. C. ; and Reuben G. Thwaites, 
Secretary of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wis. 


Without the generous aid of these gentlemen, extended in so 
many ways, this work could not have reached its present state 
of completeness. A few words as to the dedication. In De- 
cember, 1889, Senator Yance wrote to me : " You honor me 
too highly. I hope you will tone down the dedication so far 
as 1 am personally concerned." I have studied Senator 
Vance's record with the utmost care. The dedication must 

HICKORY, K C., March 18, 1895. 














INDEX .307 



1. MARSHAL, NEY Frontispiece 

(From an oil painting at Versailles.) 

2. NAPOLEON facing 25 

3. MARSHAL NET facing 38 

(From an engraving by H. R. Cook, 1817.) 


5. MARSHAL KEY facing 62 

(From Meyer's Collection of Portraits of the Grand Officers of the Legion of Honor.) 

6. NET STATUE AT METZ facing 74 

7. MARSHAL NET facing 86 

(From an old pen-and-ink sketch.) 


(From an old woodcut.) 


(By Ge"rOme.) 

10. THE EARL OF ELGIN facing 135 

(Whose portrait bears a striking resemblance to P. S. Ney.) 










20. FACSIMILE OF P. S. NEY'S NOTES .facing 235 

21. FACSIMILE OF P. S. NEY'S NOTES facing 240 

22. FACSIMILE OF P. S. NEY'S NOTES facing 246 

23. FACSIMILE OF P. S. NEY'S NOTES facing 252 

24. FACSIMILE OF P. S. NEY'S NOTES facing 257 




IT is not my purpose to write a complete biography of Mar- 
shal Ney. I have abundant material for such a work, much 
of which is new, and it may be used at some future time ; but 
for the present I design simply to give, as an introduction to 
my book, a brief sketch or outline of the life and character of 
this illustrious soldier, the greatest, in some important re- 
spects, that the world has ever produced. 

There were but two of Napoleon's marshals that would bear 
any sort of comparison with him Massena and Soult. Mas- 
sen a has generally been regarded by military critics as the 
ablest of Napoleon's lieutenants. Bonaparte had a very high 
opinion of him, and Wellington " thought him the best French 
officer that he had met." But Massena committed blunders 
in the Peninsular campaign that Ney never would have com- 
mitted ; and in the famous retreat from Portugal, Ney, by his 
consummate skill and valor, saved Massena's army from total 
annihilation. Napoleon said that " Soult was the only real 
homme de guerre among his marshals ;" and Napier, in his 
" History of the Peninsular War," thinks Soult was little in- 
ferior to the god of war himself Napoleon being his god. 

Soult was unquestionably an officer of very great merit. 
He had a sound, well-balanced mind, was a brilliant tactician, 
strong and vigorous in assault and calm and self-reliant in the 
hour of danger ; but he was exceedingly cautious and timid. 
His intellect was slow in all its operations. " Like the lion, 
he measured his leap before he took it, and if he fell short he 
measured it over again," and took a long time to measure it. 


He had no improvisations of genius, and on more than one 
occasion he deliberately allowed fine opportunities for attack- 
ing or crippling Wellington to pass away unimproved. 

Wellington soon found him out. and played with him as he 
would have played with a child. On one occasion Welling- 
ton, with a small body of troops, found himself in presence of 
Soult with a much larger force. He rode slowly along the 
lines, and his troops cheered him in the most enthusiastic man- 
ner. Wellington stopped and said to one of his aids : " Yon- 
der," pointing toward Soult, " is a great commander, but he 
is a cautious one, and will delay his attack until he can inves- 
tigate the cause of these cheers ; that will give time for the 
Sixth Division to arrive, and I shall beat him." And so he 
did. Soult' s defeat at Oporto is an everlasting stain upon his 
military fame.* 

Ney had faults as a soldier I am by no means blind to 
them but they were neither so many nor so grave as the 
faults of Massena and of Soult. In other respects these two 
men will hardly bear to be named in connection with Marshal 

The six great captains of history I name them in order 
Wellington, f Caesar, Hannibal, Napoleon, Alexander the 
Great, Frederick the Great these world-renowned warriors, 
it must be granted, possessed greater genius than Marshal Ney 
for the " higher parts of war," as the phrase goes- organiza- 
tion, supreme command, the direction and control of a large 
system of operations, etc. but not one of them could conduct 
a vanguard or a rear-guard with such ability and such success 
as Marshal Ney ; not one had so quick, so true, so accurate a 
coup cP&il on the field of battle ; not one could handle troops 
so readily, so skilfully, so effectively in actual combat ; not 
one Gould^create resources as Ney created them in the Russian 
retreat ; not one had that moral power over men which moulds 
them anew, as it were, and influences them and rules them 
when all discipline is gone, when all hope is gone. Not one. 

* Browne's " Wellington ;" " Conversations with the Duke," Earl Stan- 
hope ; Las Cases 's " Memoirs," etc. 
\ " The great world victor's victor." TENNYSON. 


In these important vital qualifications of a great soldier Key's 
position is simply unique. He stands alone. 

Michel Ney was born at Saar-Louis, on the river Saar, prov- 
ince of Lorraine, about twenty-six miles from Metz and thirty 
miles from Treves, on the 10th day of January, 1769.* His 
father, Peter Ney, was a cooper by trade, and had been a sol- 
dier in the Seven Years' War. He had greatly distinguished 
himself at the battle of Rosbach, and this circumstance, the 
crowning glory of his life, he always contrived with pardon- 
able pride to weave into his " tales of fields lost and won." 
His son Michel, the second of six children, was sprightly and 
energetic, and at a very early age evinced a decided taste and 
talent for a military life. He was carefully educated at Saar- 
Louis at a school kept by the monks of St. Augustine, and 
at the age of thirteen he began the study of law in the office 
of the village notary, f 

He remained here about twelve months, when, growing 
tired of the law, he applied for and obtained an appointment 
as clerk to the Procure ur de Roi. " But this was still worse, 
for if he must be pinned to the desk he by far preferred copy- 
ing deeds and contracts to conducting criminal proceedings." 
He therefore abandoned his new duties in disgust, and soon 
succeeded in obtaining the position of overseer of the Apen- 
werler mines. He was afterward superintendent of the Saleck 
Iron Works. He was distinguished for his quickness of per- 
ception, strong common sense, general intelligence, and faith- 
fulness to his official duties. 

But such occupations were ill adapted to his genius. He 
was yearning for the excitement and glory of a military life. 
His parents, however, were bitterly opposed to his entering 
the army ; and young Ney, a most loving and dutiful son, 

* Napoleon was born in 1769. It is a remarkable circumstance that the 
twelve men who, in one way or another, so greatly influenced the fortunes 
of Bonaparte, were all born in the same year, 1769 viz., Wellington, 
Ney, Lannes, Soult, Lavalette, Castlereagh, Arndt, Mehee, Bourrienne, 
Tallien, Belliard, and Sir Hudson Lowe. 

f " The minutes in Ney's handwriting are still preserved in this office as 
valuable relics."" Memoirs of Marshal Ney," London, 1833. 


hesitated a long time before he ventured to oppose their 
wishes. But the master passion of his soul finally overpow- 
ered every other feeling. 

He left his home amid the tears, remonstrances, and threats 
of his parents, and " without clothes or money," his feet 
bleeding at every step, set out for Metz, where the Fourth 
Kegiment of Hussars, called at that time the Kegiment de 
Colonel General, was then quartered. On his arrival at Metz, 
February 1st, 1787, Ney enlisted in this regiment, being then 
in his nineteenth year. " His good conduct, his application, 
and the rapidity with which he made himself master of his 
duty attracted the attention of his officers, while his patient 
submission to discipline and his orderly conduct elicited their 
good will ; and, as he wrote a beautiful Jiand^ he was soon 
employed in the quartermaster's office." Whatever leisure 
time he could command he devoted to hard study, laboring 
day and night to qualify himself for his new duties. " He 
distinguished himself among his comrades by his fine, soldier- 
like appearance, his great dexterity in the use of his weapons, 
and by the ease and boldness with which he rode the most 
dangerous horses and broke in those hitherto considered un- 

" On this account every regimental affair of honor was con- 
fided to him. The fencing-master of the Chasseurs de Vin- 
timille, a regiment also quartered at Metz, was, like most 
regimental fencing-masters of those days, a dangerous duellist, 
and as such dreaded not only by young recruits but by old 
and experienced swordsmen. This man had wounded the 
fencing-master of the Colonel General and insulted the whole 
regiment. The non-commissioned officers having held a meet- 
ing to take measures for the punishment of this bully, Ney, 
just promoted, was selected, as the bravest and cleverest 
swordsman, to inflict the chastisement deemed necessary. He 
accepted the mission with joy ; and though prevented at the 
time by the colonel of his regiment from carrying out his pur- 
pose, he afterward met his antagonist in a secret place, and, 
after a sharp encounter, defeated him, wounding him serious- 
ly in the wrist. The fencing-master, thus disabled and dis- 


graced, was speedily dismissed from his regiment. He was 
afterward reduced to great poverty, and Ney, hearing of his 
condition, with characteristic warm-heartedness sought him 
out and settled a pension on him." (" Memoirs.") 

Ney's promotion was rapid. So zealous and efficient an 
officer could not long remain in a subordinate position. He 
was promoted five times in the year 1792, to wit : Marechal 
des logis, February 1st ; marechal des logis chef, April 1st ; 
adjutant, June 14th ; sub-lieutenant, October 29th, and lieu- 
tenant, November 5th. On March 29th, 1793, he was ap- 
pointed aide-de-camp to General Lamarche, one of the best 
soldiers of the revolutionary period. " Thus Ney, almost at 
the outset of his career, found himself in a situation to study 
the art of war without being subjected to the painful drudgery 
of the lower grades. Being placed upon an eminence whence 
his eye could embrace the whole field of military tactics, he 
was thus initiated into the secret of grand movements, which 
he was in a situation not only to study and comprehend, but 
at times to dissect in person ; and he soon proved that the les- 
sons he received were not thrown away." 

Unfortunately, General Lamarche was killed at the storming 
of the camp at Famars. Ney then served for a short time on 
the staff of General Colaud. He was made a captain in his 
old regiment April 26th, 1794. After the battle of Fleurus, 
in which Ney particularly distinguished himself, Kleber ap- 
pointed him adjutant-general of his division, and shortly after- 
ward placed him at the head of a select body of five hundred 
men, called Partisans, whose duty it was to act as the van- 
guard of the army, to execute missions of extraordinary peril, 
to traverse the enemy's lines, to reconnoitre his positions and 
strength, to cut off his convoys, and to destroy or make pris- 
oners such separate detachments as they might encounter to 
be ready for any enterprise, however daring or desperate. 

This was a position of immense responsibility, requiring 
great courage, energy, judgment, and skill. But Ney not 
only met Kleber's expectations, but went far beyond them.* 

* " Young Ney brought to this perilous service all his mental and physi- 
cal powers. His iron will seemed to compensate for the loss of sleep and 


Kleber could not find words with which to express his ad- 
miration of this new Agamemnon. " I can't do without 
him," he said. " In every operation entrusted to him he dis- 
plays the most consummate skill and bravery." In fact, 
Jourdan and Kleber had a hot quarrel about Ney. "I must 
have him," said Jourdan. " I must have him," said Kleber ; 
and the dispute could be settled only by an appeal to higher 
authority. It is impossible in this brief sketch to follow Ney 
through all the battles, skirmishes, reconnoissances, forays, 
etc., in which his command was engaged. He was almost 
always successful, even when the odds were fearfully against 
him. His men had boundless confidence in him. They were 
willing to go anywhere and attempt anything at his bidding. 
And they loved him, even at this early stage of his career, 
with a passion which amounted almost to idolatry. 

At the siege of Maestricht, Ney rendered the most valuable 
services. Indeed, the success of the undertaking was mainly 
due to his able dispositions and brilliant manoeuvres. Berna- 
dotte wrote to Kleber : " Great praise is due to the brave 
Ney. He seconded me with the ability which you know he 
possesses ; and I am bound to add, in strict justice, that he 
greatly contributed to the success we have obtained. " During 
the siege of Mayence, in January, 1795, Ney, while cutting 
his way, single-handed, through the midst of the enemy, was 
severely wounded in the arm.* " A species of lockjaw en- 
sued, and he became restless and desponding. Being informed 
that he had been appointed general of brigade, this promotion 
was only a source of uneasiness to him. He did not think he 
had done enough to merit that rank, and wished to leave it to 
those who, as he said, had better claims than his. In vain 
were his scruples laughed at ; in vain was he urged to accept 
the promotion ; it was impossible to shake his resistance or 
overcome his modesty. 

" As his wound continued painful, the representative, Mer- 

f ood and rest. Daunted by no danger, exhausted by no toil, caught by 
no stratagem, he acquired at the head of this bold band of warriors the 
title of the Indefatigable" HEADLEY. 
* Gunshot wound. 


lin, recommended him to try his native air. c My brave friend, ' 
he wrote, i go and complete your cure at Sarrelibre,* your 
birthplace. I have dispatched an order to the surgeon of first- 
class, Bona venture, to send one of his pupils with you. Re- 
turn soon and lend us your powerful aid against the enemies 
of your country.' The spring was advancing, active opera- 
tions were about to be resumed, and Ney's wound was not yet 
healed. With anxiety, though resigned, he watched the slow 
progress of his convalescence. His hopes were still buoyant, 
and he trusted that his youth and the approaching season 
would speedily restore him to health" (" Memoirs"). The 
campaign soon opened, and Ney set out forthwith for head- 
quarters without regard to the condition of his wound and 
against the express commands of his surgeon. He still per- 
sisted in declining the office of brigadier-general. Kleber and 
his other friends earnestly remonstrated with him, but it did 
no good. He felt that he was unworthy of so great an 

His return to the army was hailed with the liveliest satisfac- 
tion. Though his wounds were not altogether healed, he at 
once entered upon his duties with all the ardor and energy of 
his nature. At Wurtzburg and Forchheim he was eminently 
successful. u With one hundred cavalry he took two thou- 
sand prisoners and obtained possession of Wurtzburg. He 
led two columns straight into the river, and, forcing the op- 
posite banks, though lined with cannon, made himself master 
of Forchheim." Before the river was fairly crossed the im- 
perial army fled in dismay, and Ney quietly " rode up to the 
gates and summoned the garrison to surrender. The com- 
mander hesitated, but Ney swore that he would bombard the 
place unless his demands were instantly complied with. The 
commandant wished to parley in order to gain. time ; but Ney, 
bursting into a violent rage at such useless obstinacy, swore 
that he would put the whole garrison to the sword if the sur- 
render were delayed another instant. This threat produced 
the desired effect, and Forchheim, with its arms, ammunition, 

* " The name of Sarrelouis had been Jacobinized into Sarrelibre." 
( 4< Memoirs.") This may be a mistake. 



and stores of provisions, was immediately surrendered to the 
French." (" Memoirs.") 

Kleber was delighted at Ney's brilliant success. He com- 
plimented him in the highest terms, and in the presence of his 
men said the most flattering things respecting his talents, zeal, 
and courage. "But," continued he, turning to ISFey, "I 
shall not compliment you upon your modesty, because, when 
carried too far, it ceases to be a good quality. In sum, you 
may receive my declaration as you please ; but my mind is 
made up, and 1 insist upon your being general of brigade." 

The chasseurs clapped their hands in applause, and the 
officers warmly expressed their satisfaction at the general's de- 
termination. Ney alone remained thoughtful. He seemed 
still in doubt whether he should accept a promotion which 
he had already declined, and he uttered not a word. " Well," 
said Kleber in the kindest manner, " you appear very much 
grieved and confused, but the Austrians are there waiting 
for you ; go and vent your ill humor upon them. As for me, 
I shall acquaint the Directory with your promotion." 

He kept his word in the following terms : ' i Adjutant-Gen- 
eral Ney in this and the preceding campaigns has given numer- 
ous proofs of talent, zeal, and intrepidity ; but he surpassed 
even himself in the battle which took place yesterday, and he 
had two horses killed under him. I have thought myself 
justified in promoting him upon the field of battle to the rank 
of general of brigade. A commission of this grade was for- 
warded to him eighteen months ago, but his modesty would 
not allow him then to accept it. By confirming this promo- 
tion, Citizens Directors, you will perform a striking act of 
your justice." 

Ney was accordingly promoted to the rank of brigadier- 
general, but before his commission arrived he had still further 
distinguished himself by the capture of Nuremberg, a " great 
and beautiful city, containing a noble-minded population smart- 
ing under recently inflicted injuries." 

On August 15th, 1796, Ney received his commission of 
general of brigade with the following complimentary letter 
from Jonrdan, the general -in-chief : " I inclose you, general, 


your commission of general of brigade, which I have just re- 
ceived from the War Minister. Government has thus dis- 
charged the debt which it owed to one of its worthiest and 
most zealous servants ; and it has only done justice to the 
talents and courage of which you daily give fresh proofs. 
Accept my sincere congratulation." Key determined to 
prove himself worthy of so high an honor, and in the very 
next engagement (near Sulzbach) he conducted his operations 
with so much ability and vigor that the Austrians were beaten 
at every point (though they occupied almost impregnable 
positions) and forced into a disorderly retreat. 

J ourdan resigned the command of the army in September, 
1796, and Bournonville was appointed to take his place. This 
was a most unfortunate selection, for Bournonville, though a 
man of talent, soon became disgusted with the service, and 
wished to divide the responsibility of commander-in-chief with 
his subordinate officers. He wrote as follows concerning 

' ' To the Minister of War : 

u I recommend your proposing to the Directory that Briga- 
dier-General Key be appointed general of division, to com- 
mand the vanguard in the place of General Lefebvre. This 
officer, intrepid in action, has, during the campaign, covered 
himself with glory. He has always commanded corps in the 
vanguard, and is the only one I know who could efficiently 
command that of the army of Sambre-et-Meuse. " 

This was indeed a very high compliment ; but Ney richly 
deserved it. Bournonville was soon recalled, and that great 
soldier, Hoche, who had just failed in his expedition to Ire- 
land owing to adverse winds and other unavoidable causes, 
assumed the command of the army. Hoche and Key soon 
became the warmest of friends. " Allow me, general," said 
Hoche, in a letter to Key, " to express my satisfaction at 
serving with you, whose military merit is so generally known 
and appreciated." 

Ney fully reciprocated these kind expressions. " 1 sincere- 
ly participate," he wrote to Hoche, " in the delight of all my 


comrades at your arrival among us. The confidence with 
which your presence inspires the whole army is a sure presage 
of your success. I shall be too happy if I can at all contribute 
in bringing your undertakings to a successful issue, and thus 
deserve your esteem." 

In his report of the action near Dierdorf, Hoche thus refers 
to Ney : " Ney proceeded with rapidity to Dierdorf, where 
he found the reserve of the Austrians, six thousand strong, and 
still untouched. With less than five hundred hussars he en- 
gaged this body during four consecutive hours, and by his 
skill and energy succeeded in gaining time until the arrival of 
our infantry and reserve of cavalry." Shortly afterward Ney, 
with a small force, attacked the enemy near Giessen. He 
charged with his wonted intrepidity ; but the Austrians great- 
ly outnumbered him, and his troops were put to flight. Ney's 
horse fell and rolled with him into a ravine. He was imme- 
diately surrounded. Six dragoons made at him with their 
swords. Still he would not surrender. He was covered with 
bruises and blood, but he kept his astonished antagonists at 
bay until his sword snapped in twain. Even then he refused 
to yield, for, perceiving that the Fourth Regiment was about 
to make a fresh charge, he wished to give them time to come 
to his aid. He used the stump of his sword, and struck and 
parried with so much vigor and skill that for a while his ene- 
mies, as numerous as they were (they had increased to a whole 
company of cavalry), were unable to capture him. Finally his 
foot slipped and he fell to the ground. They then seized him 
and bore him in triumph (such as it was) to the Austrian head- 
quarters. Ney's fame had preceded him. As he passed 
through the streets of Giessen almost the entire population, 
the women especially, pressed eagerly forward to see one 
whose deeds seemed to surpass those of the purest days of 

The Austrian officer who was escorting N"ey to headquarters 
was greatly annoyed. " Really," said he, " one would sup- 
pose that he was some extraordinary animal. " " Extraordi- 
nary indeed," said one of the ladies, " since it required a 
whole squadron of dragoons to take him. " 


One day Ney saw an Austrian riding his (Ney's) horse. 
The animal exhibited the most vicious, lazy, and obstinate 
spirit. The officers began to laugh at Ney about the worth- 
lessness of his horse. " Let me show you how to manage 
him," said Ney. Permission was granted. Key leaped into 
the saddle, and the noble animal, conscious of bearing his mas- 
ter, stepped proudly away. He made directly for the French 
lines, and Ney came very near effecting his escape. The 
Austrians were greatly alarmed. The trumpets were sound- 
ed, the heavy and light cavalry rode off in every direction, 
and soon every avenue was closed. Ney wheeled, and with 
equal speed rode back to the Austrian camp. There was no 
more jesting about his horse. 

Ney's absence was deeply felt by Hoche and by the entire 
army. Hoche wrote to Ney as follows : " You know me 
sufficiently, my dear general, to give me credit for the afflic- 
tion 1 feel at your misfortune. ... I am awaiting in the 
most anxious impatience the moment when I shall embrace you. 
Write to ine and inform me what pecuniary assistance you re- 
quire. Adieu, my dear Ney ; rely upon my sincere and constant 
friendship." Hoche rewarded Ney's men for their gallantry 
and good conduct. He gave a horse to one, a sword to an- 
other, a sash to a third. He also sent to Ney a magnificent 
belt, with a letter couched in the most nattering terms. " In 
sending you," he wrote from Friedberg, " the belt which the 
bearer will deliver to you, I do not pretend, my dear general, 
to reward either your success or your merit. Pray, therefore, 
accept it only as a feeble pledge of my personal esteem and 
unalterable friendship. Give me news of your health. " The 
Directory also sent him a very kind and complimentary letter. 

Ney was at length exchanged, and was soon put at the head 
of part of the forces destined for the invasion of England. 
But this project was chimerical, and came to nothing. In 
1798 Ney's command formed part of the corps under Berna- 
dotte, called the Army of Observation, on the Rhine. Berna- 
dotte was exceedingly anxious to capture the city of Manheim. 
It was a most important place. It was separated from the 
French army by the river Rhine, and was defended by a power- 


fill garrison. Its position was so strong and so advantageous 
every way that it was called the key of Germany on that part 
of the frontier. It also abounded with provisions and stores 
of almost every description ; but it seemed to be almost im- 
possible to take it by force. Key therefore proposed to take 
it by stratagem. 

After a careful reconnoissance, Ney was convinced that a 
few brave, determined men might cross the river a short dis- 
tance from the city, march round the enemy's cantonments, 
and fall upon him in the rear before a force sufficient to repel 
them could be collected at that particular point of attack. 
Before engaging in this bold enterprise, Ney resolved to cross 
the river in disguise and reconnoitre the enemy's position in 

" Accordingly one evening he assumed the garb of a Prus- 
sian peasant, passed the Khine, entered Manheim with a bas- 
ket upon his arm, proceeded through the streets, made his 
observations, and obtained precise information as to the force 
which defended it, and the provisions it contained. 

" No one suspected him of being a spy, as the German was 
his native language, and his manners not above those of his 
assumed character. Besides, Ney had a great deal of tact and 
address, which upon occasion he well knew how to use. He 
was about to leave the fortress full of hope when he perceived 
a soldier of the garrison supporting a woman in the last stage 
of pregnancy. Having accosted the woman, he expressed an 
interest in her situation, and his fear that her illness might 
begin before the night was over. < No matter if it does,' the 
soldier replied ; ' should this be the case, the commandant will 
allow the drawbridge to be let down at any hour of the night, 
so that the instant she is taken ill she can have assistance. ' 

" This was all Ney wanted to know, and he soon recrossed 
the Rhine to make his preparations. He selected a hundred 
and fifty of his bravest soldiers, crossed the river with them 
in skiffs, went rapidly forward, and concealed them under the 
walls of Manheirn in the hope that the woman's labor pains 
would soon come on. She did not disappoint him ; her suf- 
ferings began, the bridge was lowered, and an instant after 


Key and his men took possession of it. The latter, with their 
general at their head, then pushed forward, and the weakness 
of their force was masked by the darkness of the night. They 
assailed the garrison with such fury and determination that 
they were utterly demoralized, and after a short struggle he 
obtained complete possession of the place. This achievement 
put the seal to his celebrity." (" Memoirs.") 

Being master of Manheim, they advanced toward Philips- 
burg. Upon arriving there he demanded an interview with 
the governor of the town. The governor dispatched the chief 
of the advanced posts to represent him with authority to ac- 
cept any reasonable proposals which Ney might make. Ney, 
who had but a small force, feigned to be desirous of sparing 
the garrison, and offered a suspension of arms. The chief of 
the advanced posts at first eluded the proposal, but being a 
man of weak judgment and devoid of energy, he soon suffered 
himself to be led by Ney, and the suspension was accepted. 
Thus was Philipsburg blockaded upon parole, and Ney be- 
came free in his movements. 

On March 28th, 1799, Ney was appointed general of divi- 
sion. His modesty at once took the alarm, and he received 
his commission only to send it back. He felt that he might 
be competent to command a brigade, but not a division. He 
therefore wrote to the war minister as follows : 

" I have received your letter of the 8th of Germinal 
(March 28th), in which was inclosed the decree appointing 
me general of division. The Directory, in conferring this 
promotion upon me, probably yielded to advantageous reports 
of my conduct ; but it is my duty to be more severe on my 
own merits. If my talents were truly such as the Directory 
have conceived, I should not hesitate to accept the promo- 
tion ; unfortunately such is not the case, and I am forced to 
decline the honor the Government would confer upon me. I 
trust that this refusal will be considered nothing more than a 
proof of the sincere patriotism by which I am actuated, and 
of the disinterestedness with which I perform my professional 
duties. May 1 beg you will assure the Directory that I shall 
never have any other aim than that of deserving its esteem." 


But the Directory paid no attention to Ney's refusal. The 
minister who forwarded Ney's letter was directed to make 
known to him that the Government persisted in its decree. 
He wrote to Key : 

" The Executive Directory, before whom I laid your letter 
requesting me to tender your refusal of the rank of general of 
division to which you had been appointed, has directed me to 
inform you that it persists in the decree which promotes you 
to that grade. It sees in your modesty only a stronger claim 
to reward for the services you have already rendered, and a 
valuable earnest for those you will hereafter render to the re- 
public. In consequence of which, I herewith again forward 
the decree of your appointment. " 

Still Ney hesitated. He had already performed the duties 
of the new office to which he was appointed, but he was 
afraid to accept the title. 

Bernadotte wrote to him not to displease the Directory by 
refusing the promotion which it persisted in conferring upon 
him. " Look around you, my dear Ney," he wrote, " and 
say candidly whether your conscience does not call upon you 
to lay aside a modesty which becomes out of place and even 
dangerous when carried to excess. We must have ardent 
souls and hearts as inaccessible to fear as to seduction to be 
able to lead the armies of France. Who more than yourself 
is gifted with these qualities ? It would be an act of weak- 
ness, then, to shrink from the career that is open to you. 
Adieu, my dear ISTey. . . . You will, I know, listen to 
everything from one who is attached to you by the ties of the 
warmest friendship and the most perfect esteem." 

Ney yielded to Bernadotte's advice, and assumed the rank 
to which the Directory had raised him. In May, 1799, he 
was transferred to the Army of Switzerland, commanded by 
Massena. At Andelfingen and Altikon, on the banks of the 
Thur, and at Winterthur, he more than sustained his high 
reputation. At the very commencement of the action at 
Winterthur, Ney " was struck with a musket-ball, which, after 
passing through his thigh, spent itself in the shoulder of his 
horse. He remained on the field, however, after allowing 


some of the men to bind up his wound and stanch the blood 
with their pocket-handkerchiefs. Afterward, at the head of 
a small body of cavalry, they charged a whole squadron of 
Hungarians, and being attacked by a foot soldier just as he 
had struck down a hussar, he had not time to turn aside the 
bayonet, which pierced through the sole of his foot. He suc- 
ceeded in cutting down his rash assailant, who, however, in 
falling, fired his piece and shattered Ney's wrist." * (" Mem- 

The severity of Key's wounds forced him to retire for 
awhile from the command of his troops, bat at the end of 
two months his wounds were healed, and he again joined Mas- 
sena. But he was soon ordered by the Directory to join the 
Army of the Rhine. Massena was deeply grieved at this 
order. Plis circumstances were too critical to permit the de- 
parture of so able an officer as Ney, and he therefore begged 
Ney to remain with him until the danger was past. " I was 
aware, my dear general," he wrote to Ney, "of the order 
given you to join the army on the Rhine, but I must request 
you will defer your departure for some days. Indeed, I most 
earnestly entreat you to do so. You are necessary, nay, indis- 
pensable, to your division ; and I should feel the most lively 
regret if you were to leave until the arrival of the general ap- 
pointed to succeed you. At all events, be assured that it is 
with great regret I see you taken from an army to whose suc- 
cess you have so powerfully contributed." Ney therefore 
remained a short time longer. 

At Heilbronn, Ney gained a magnificent victory over a 
greatly superior force almost solely by the use of his artillery. 
Never were three guns served with more skill and effect. 
The Austrian cavalry, a large and fine body of men, made 
repeated and desperate charges, but Key's artillery mowed 
them down by hundreds, until at last, tired out and demoral- 
ized, they fled tumultuously from the field. A few days 
afterward the Austrians appeared in overwhelming numbers, 
and the French army was compelled to retreat, owing to the 

* Wounded in thigh (knee, according to Ney's official report to Mas- 
sena), foot, wrist (or 7iand, according to Ney's official report). 


bad dispositions and faulty arrangements in general of the 
commanding officer. Ney warmly protested against them, 
but it did no good. Nothing was left but " patient resigna- 
tion to events." The end soon came. The Austrians at- 
tacked the French in their ill-chosen position, and, after a 
spirited resistance, completely routed them. The French 
were compelled to evacuate Manheim, and the Austrians, 
flushed with victory, boldly attacked their communications. 

" General Yandermassen and Adjutant -General Lefol, having 
collected a few men, threw themselves in front of the enemy, 
but being almost immediately surrounded, some of their sol- 
diers were put to the sword and the remainder unconditionally 
surrendered. The French army was now in open flight, and 
the greater part of it would have been destroyed had not Ney 
come to its assistance. In the action which followed Ney was 
twice wounded. He received a musket shot in the chest, and 
his thigh was dreadfully contused by a Biscayan." (" Mem- 
oirs.' 1 ) 

General Muller, the commander-in-chief, was a patriotic 
but a very slow and incompetent officer. He had succeeded, 
with the best intentions, in getting the French army into a 
most miserable and critical condition. Ney was disgusted 
with his operations, but he continued faithfully to perform his 
duties. General Muller was soon recalled by the Directory, 
and Ney was appointed (September, 1799) to take his place as 
commander-in-chief. He at first refused to accept the ap- 
pointment. u The difficult situation in which the army was 
placed and his own ill health two wounds being yet un- 
healed induced him to do all in his power to get rid of the 
perilous honor conferred upon him. But the Directory had 
forwarded his commission, and the generals and other officers 
unanimously entreated him to put himself at their head. He 
therefore acceded to their wishes, but rather as a self -immo- 
lated victim than as an officer whose ambition is crowned by 

" His first act was to claim the indulgence of his colleagues, 
and to invoke the aid of their talents and exertions. ' The 
Executive Directory,' said he in his circular, * has called 


upon me to assume the provisional command of the army in 
the room of General Muller. You are aware of the ineffi- 
ciency of my military talents for this important station, par- 
ticularly in our present critical situation. I shall perhaps 
hecome the victim of my obedience, but under the circum- 
stances in which we are placed I am bound to accept the ap- 
pointment. I therefore claim your kind solicitude for the 
safety of the troops under your command, as also your indi- 
vidual kindness toward myself. I must, moreover, inform 
you that I have signified to the Directory my intention of not 
retaining the command beyond ten days.' 

" Nothing could be more modest than this address, nor show 
a stronger proof of the most devoted zeal. But every officer 
in the army had the strongest confidence in Eey's talents. 
The different commanders of corps, whose assistance he solicit- 
ed, had fought with him, some in Helvetia, others in the 
Army of Sambre-et-Meuse ; all knew his ability and daring 
courage, arid all were delighted at seeing him assume the 

General Gillot congratulated the army upon having Ney 
at its head. He wrote to Ney as follows : u 1 have learned 
with real pleasure your appointment to the provisional com- 
mand of the Army of the Rhine. . . . You may depend, 
Citizen General, upon my vigilance for the safety of the troops 
under my command, and believe me when I say that I will 
always exert myself to deserve your esteem and friend- 

General Leval was still warmer in his congratulations. He 
wrote : "If, in the whole course of my life, my dear com- 
rade, I ever experienced satisfaction, it was on receiving the 
news of your appointment to the chief command of this army. 
It is of a certainty weak, but it is composed of soldiers who 
greatly esteem you. You are calculated to inspire confi- 
dence ; and it is with redoubled zeal that I shall study to 
execute scrupulously the orders you may give me. . . . You 
may rely, my dear general, upon my neglecting nothing to 
contribute to the success of your undertakings. That is the 
first proof I will give you of the satisfaction I experience at 


being under your command. Rely, also, upon my sincere 
devotion and friendship." 

General Legrand was equally delighted. In his letter he 
says : " The last courier, my dear general, brought me the 
news of General Mailer's departure from Paris, and your ap- 
pointment to the chief command of the army. This gives me 
the most lively pleasure. . . . The promptitude with which 
I will proceed to whatever post you may assign me will prove 
to you how much pleasure I feel in serving under your orders, 
and the sincere attachment of your comrade and friend." 

Ney at once acted with decision and vigor. The army was 
in a measure reorganized. Incompetent and sore-headed offi- 
cers were weeded out and new men put in their places. His 
soldiers were comparatively well fed, well clothed, and well 
armed. The strictest discipline was enforced in every depart- 
ment ; the frontiers were carefully fortified and guarded ; the 
enemy, closely watched, was foiled in every movement, and 
confidence, even enthusiasm, was infused into every branch 
of the service. The wily Archduke Charles endeavored to 
surprise Ney, but was soundly punished for his presumption. 
At Frankfort the Austrian militia were quickly overthrown 
and almost entirely destroyed. 

The French army was daily gaining important advantages, 
though Ney had almost insuperable obstacles to overcome, and 
its morale was of the highest order. Grosgerau and Trebbin 
were easily taken, and at Heidelberg (October 15th) Ney gained 
a decisive victory over Prince Lichtenstein, who commanded 
during the action. The Austrians made a most heroic resist- 
ance, but they were at length cut to pieces and driven in con- 
fusion from the field. On October 29th Ney encountered 
and routed the enemy at Haslach. The next day there was 
an engagement near Slocksberg, and the Imperialists, under 
Prince Hohenlohe, were again defeated. On both occasions 
Ney was greatly outnumbered, but he made up for this dis- 
proportion of force by the skill, prudence, and valor with 
which he combated the enemy. 

General Lecourbe now assumed command of the army, and 
victory at once deserted its standards. Lecourbe had some 


military talent, but he was petulant, jealous, and wanting in 
energy. The French army met with several reverses, and 
was forced into a retrograde movement. Lecourbe was 
greatly disheartened, and made a strong appeal to Ney to 
help him out of his difficulties. He asked him to " employ 
his influence in rekindling the courage of the men, in rousing 
the energy they were capable of displaying, and again excit- 
ing that confidence in themselves which had so often led them 
to victory." 

Ney readily promised to aid him in every way that he could, 
and in the very next engagement, near Wislok, Ney taught 
the enemy a severe lesson. Prince Hohenlohe, in strong 
force, attacked Ney, with a mere handful of men. The 
action was long and obstinately contested. Hohenlohe made 
repeated charges with the most determined bravery, but every 
attack was successfully resisted, until at length Ney, seizing 
the opportune moment, executed a brilliant manoeuvre and 
decided the fortunes of the day. Hohenlohe retreated, and 
the French were left masters of the field. 

This victory, entirely due to Ney, restored the confidence 
of the army, and the soldiers were eager to be led against the 
enemy. In the campaign of 1800-1801 Ney served under 
Moreau in the Army of the Khine.* Here he won fresh 
laurels. He foiled and defeated the enemy at every point. 
At Stettin he made a night attack upon the Austrians, who 
occupied a strong position in the gorges of the mountains, and 
before day they were entirely routed. At Ingolstadt, Ney 
gained an important victory over the Austrian General Neu, 
who had great reputation in his army as a bold, dashing, and 
successful officer. He endeavored to surprise Ney, but was 
himself surprised and ignobly defeated. The French were so 
confident of victory that they formed and marched against the 

* Ney seems to have suffered a good deal from his wounds. Before he 
joined Moreau he had for some time been " living in retirement at Mai- 
grange, where his still unhealed wounds confined him to his bed." The 
two wounds which he received in September, 1799 (chest and thigh) were 
not serious, as he did not leave the army, but continued in active service. 
It is probable that he received other wounds of which no account is given. 


enemy amid shouts of laughter and derision. " Here we 
are," said an old hussar, u nez d nez* (Ney a Neu). Let us 
see how matters will coine to pass." Ney broke through the 
Austrian ranks, put them to complete flight, and took six 
pieces of cannon and six hundred prisoners. 

At the great battle of Hohenlinden (so graphically described 
by the poet Campbell, who viewed the conflict at a safe and 
convenient distance), Ney was foremost in those terrible onsets 
which decided the fortunes of the day. His talents, his 
energy, his staying qualities had never been more conspicu- 
ously displayed. Key's last feat in this war added to his re- 
nown as the ablest strategist in the French army. I quote 
from the " Memoirs." 

" Ney, in pursuit of the enemy, had arrived upon the Ems 
and nearly overtaken the Austrian rear-guard. He was direct- 
ed to continue the pursuit ; but he could not reach the enemy 
without crossing the plain, arid he was not sufficiently strong 
to encounter the cavalry by which it was covered. Unable, 
therefore, to employ force, he had recourse to stratagem. He 
demanded an interview with Schwartzenburg, represented to 
that general the hopelessness of the struggle, and the danger 
of resistance ; in short, he performed his part so well that he 
obtained, without firing a shot, that which he did not feel 
himself strong enough to carry by arms. The prince gave up 
the whole country to him, and peaceably withdrew behind 

A treaty of peace between Austria and France was signed 
at Luneville on February 9th, 1801, and Moreau and his army 
returned to France. Ney was warmly received by the First 
Consul. He had taken no part in the revolution of the 18th 
Brumaire, but subsequent events had seemed to him fully to 
justify the change which had taken place, and he heartily sup- 
ported the new government. 

Bonaparte was lavish in his praises. He was anxious to 

* " Nez d nez (nose to nose), pronounced Ney-&-Ney. The pronuncia- 
tion of the German Neu is between the name Ney and the English mono- 
syllable nigh. Thus the English reader may easily understand the double 
entente,'' " Memoirs." 


attach Ney to his person and his fortunes, and he therefore 
plied him with all the arts of which he was capable. Josephine 
ably seconded him. She invoked the aid of love a power 
which moves the world. u She brought about an attachment 
between Ney and a young favorite of hers (Mile. Aglae Louise 
Auguie), and wound up the romance with the marriage of the 
lovers. ' ' 

The following letter to Ney explains itself : 

" I inclose you, general, the letter which you requested for 
Citizen Auguie. May I beg that you will read it ? I have 
not mentioned in it all the good which I know and think of 
you ; for I would leave this amiable family the satisfaction of 
discovering your good qualities themselves. But I here re- 
peat the assurance of the interest which both Bonaparte and I 
take in this marriage, and of the satisfaction which Bonaparte 
will feel in promoting the happiness of two persons toward 
whom he entertains very particular feelings of regard and 
esteem. I share with him in this double feeling. 


" MALMAISON, May 30, 1802." 

went, saw, conquered. Mile. Auguie was a beautiful 
woman, of gentle heart and rare accomplishments. She was 
a niece of Madame Campan, and had been educated at the 
famous school of St. Germain. One of her intimate friends 
was Hortense Beauharnais, afterward Madame Louis Bona- 
parte, Queen of Holland. The marriage was celebrated at 
the chateau of Grignon, the residence of M. Auguie, on the 
26th day of July, 1802.* 

Ney was quite poor. He had had abundant opportunities 
for amassing wealth of almost every description, but he was 
no plunderer like Massena or Augereau. " Everything for 
France and her soldiers," said he; " nothing for myself." 
There never was a more generous, a more unselfish patriot. 
He required the inhabitants of the countries through which 

* Goodrich says Ney was married on August 4th, 1802. But, according 
to the official record, he was married " le 6 Thermidor an dix de la Re- 
publique Fran9aise tl 10 heures du matin" July 26th, 1802. 


lie passed to feed and clothe his starving and naked soldiers, 
but he permitted no stealing or marauding of any character. 
He punished with severity those who were guilty of such acts. 
His wife's fortune was also small. But both of them were 
young, happy, and hopeful.* 

' c In the village where N ey was married dwelt an old couple 
who had been married half a century. Key clothed them and 
made them receive their second f nuptial benediction on the 
same day and at the same altar with himself and his young 
bride, thus marking his own marriage by an act of benevo- 
lence. l These old people,' he observed, ' will recall to my 
mind the lowliness of my own origin ; and this renewal of their 
long union will prove of happy augury for my own. ' The 
thought was the emanation of a noble mind ; but the presage 
which it expressed was, unhappily, not to be accomplished." 
(" Memoirs.") 

Prior to his marriage Key had been appointed inspector- 
general of cavalry in the Third, Fifth, and Twenty-sixth Divi- 
sions, and the zeal and ability with which he performed his 
duties gave much satisfaction to the First Consul. N~ey cor- 
rected abuses, disciplined wrong-doers, introduced many need- 
ed reforms, and gave new life and energy to this important 
arm of the service. 

But a still higher honor awaited him. In the fall of 1802 
Bonaparte appointed Ney Minister Plenipotentiary to the Re- 
public of Switzerland. This country was torn in pieces by 
intestine feuds of the most formidable character. Ney's mis- 
sion under ordinary circumstances would have been delicate 
and difficult, but it was rendered doubly so by the fact that 
he went as a kind of armed mediator, with peace in one hand 
and a sword in the other. J 

* " Le brave homme !" ecrit Mme. Campan ; " je m'abonnerais volon- 
tiers a la moitie de ses qualites pour chacune de mes nieces !" " Le Mare- 
chal Key, le General," etc. 

f " In France, when a couple has spent half a century in the joys of 
wedded life, the nuptial benediction is renewed." " Memoirs." 

J Ney had about thirty thousand soldiers in Switzerland. We must also 
remember that England and other foreign powers were violently opposed 
to French mediation in Switzerland, and were quick to throw every possi- 


We may make people obey us, but we cannot make them 
love us. Still, Ney, in spite of seemingly insurmountable diffi- 
culties, conducted his negotiations with so much patience, 
prudence, and tact (qualities which it is generally supposed he 
did not possess) that in a little more than twelve months he 
had accomplished the object of his mission to the entire satis- 
faction of the First Consul (always hard to please), and, what 
is still more wonderful, to the entire satisfaction of the Swiss 
people themselves. He had established " peace and concord" 
in Switzerland, and had won the love and confidence of his 
bitterest foes indeed, of a whole nation, suspicious, embit- 
tered, rebellious, and at times exasperated almost beyond en- 
durance.* The glory of this achievement is second only to 
that which encircled the hero's brow in the Russian retreat, f 
Nor were the honest Swiss either slow or ungenerous in testi- 
fying their sense of the value of Ney's services. There were 
public rejoicings everywhere, and all felt that the French gen- 
eral had rendered an invaluable service to the entire nation. J 

ble obstacle in the way of such mediation. Rapp, too, as the forerunner 
of Ney, was a total failure, adding (though with the best intentions) fuel 
to the flame wherever he went. 

* The spirit of revolt had been aroused by French aggression in 1798, 
only four years before Ney's mission to Switzerland. 

f Ney's fame as a soldier is so great that historians have been accus- 
tomed lightly to pass over this important period of the Marshal's life, and 
to seek for laurels only in his military career. But Ney was almost as 
great in the Cabinet as he was in the field. A short time before he left 
Switzerland, Talleyrand, prince of diplomatists, wrote to him as follows : 
"The Government relies upon your talents and zeal. You are equally 
distinguished, General, both as a soldier and a politician." Every one 
must admit that Ney's diplomatic career in Switzerland reflected infinite 
credit alike upon his head and his heart. 

" Sent as a plenipotentiary to Switzerland, Ney displayed much adroit- 
ness and vigor, and was exceedingly successful in difficult circumstances." 
" Imperial Dictionary of Universal Biography." 

| Prior to Ney's departure the Landamman was authorized to express 
the regret of the confederated cantons at losing him, and in their name to 
forward to him a snuff-box with the monogram of Switzerland set in dia- 
monds on the lid, and accompanied with the following letter : 

GENERAL : At the moment of your departure from us, . . . allow me 
to fulfil a most agreeable duty, that of speaking of the good you have done 
us and of our gratitude toward you. It is not solely the expression of my 


A great soldier, a great statesman, a great man, Ney was the 
brightest star in the consular or the imperial galaxy. 

own private sentiments that I now offer you. Having for the last ten 
months enjoyed the most delightful intercourse with you, it is quite natu- 
ral that I should entertain toward you much esteem and personal attach- 
ment ; but as chief magistrate of all Switzerland it is in her name that I now 
address you. All the cantons, on being made acquainted with your intended 
departure, have expressed the most lively regret. They all set a proper 
value upon the share you have taken in the beneficial changes which the 
present year has brought us. Switzerland is restored to peace ; order is 
everywhere established ; the diversity of opinions among us merges each 
day into a spirit of moderation and harmony. . . . An act of kindness 
attaches him who performs it as well as him upon whom it is conferred ; 
we therefore do not fear that you will forget us ; we would even, on every 
occasion, continue to rely upon your support, for you have conferred upon 
us at once the right and the habit of so doing. The cantons have ex- 
pressed a wish that you would accept a feeble pledge of their attachment 
and gratitude ; and seeing the preparations for your departure, I have 
requested M. Maillardoz to present it to you at Paris. It is a token of re- 
membrance and nothing more ; but we should esteem ourselves happy if, 
by calling to your recollection a nation whom you have so essentially 
obliged, it should prove the means of your not forgetting the sentiments 
which every member of that nation will forever feel toward you. 

Louis D'AFFRY, 
Landamman of Switzerland. 


CTiancellor of the Confederation. 
FRIBOURG, December 28, 1803. 

" The citizens of Berne determined to perpetuate the remembrance of 
Ney's mission by the erection of a public monument ; they likewise had a 
medal struck upon which were represented the disorders to which he had 
put an end and the peace he had established." " Memoirs." 

Murat wrote to Ney : " This campaign of an instant has covered you 
with glory. It is a noble thing to have obtained, by mild proceedings, 
combined with a formidable appearance, that which another would have 
effected by force of arms." 

Had Ney's mission failed, the flame of civil war would have burst forth 
in every part of the Swiss Republic. 



UPON his return from Switzerland, Ney was appointed com- 
mander-in-chief of the camp at Montreuil, where Bonaparte was 
making active preparations for the invasion of England. Many 
historians have supposed that this was a mere feint, that he had 
no serious intention of invading England. But Bonaparte him- 
self repeatedly declared at St. Helena that such was his inten- 
tion, and there seems to be no good reason to doubt it. It 
was about the silliest project that ever entered his head, for 
had he succeeded in crossing the Channel, he would, in all 
probability, have found his grave on English soil. Ney, how- 
ever, was a firm believer in the feasibility of the plan.* 

* His observations are interesting. I quote from the " Memoirs" : 
" Moreau dwelt at great length upon the dangers of the invasion of Eng- 
land. He deemed it nothing short of madness to confront line-of -battle 
ships with gunboats, and to hope that the passage across the Channel 
could be won with such a craft. Ney was not of the same opinion. Bar- 
ring the accidents of the sea, he thought that by taking advantage of light 
winds, of calms, and of long nights, it was not impossible to elude the 
vigilance of the Channel fleet and escape from the overwhelming superior- 
ity of the British naval force. He had procured a journal of the winds 
prevalent in the Channel, and was well acquainted with their course, their 
variation, the periods when they blow with violence, and those when their 
action is suspended. He had, therefore, no doubt that by seizing a favor- 
able opportunity, the French army might escape the fleet which alarmed 
Moreau so much, and effect a landing upon the shores of England. ' The 
British nation,' he said, ' were convinced of this, for the British admirals, 
who in 1756 were consulted on the possibility of such an event, had unani- 
mously declared that they could not answer for preventing a landing, even 
had they ten times the force they commanded ; and in 1770 the same an- 
swer had been given. The Duke of Argyle and some of the most distin- 
guished British officers of the period had often declared their conviction 
in Parliament that situations and conjunctions might often arise at sea 
which would give a hostile army every possible opportunity of landing in 
England without the British fleets, even were they collected together, 
being able to secure the safety of the coast. The reason of this, ' he said, 
' was very clear. The westerly winds and those from the south and south- 


His activity at Montreuil was unceasing. Like Wellington, 
he would trust to nobody, but insisted on seeing everything 
for himself, and knowing beyond a doubt that everything was 
properly done. No man can be great in war or great in any- 
west blow from France to England, and during their prevalence vessels 
sailing from the ports of France make good way, while those of England 
cannot leave their ports ; thus the most formidable fleets are of no use dur- 
ing the continuance of those winds, and an attempt might be successfully 
made. A sudden cessation of wind,' continued Ney, ' might produce the 
same effect as a violent and continued gale ; for if the British fleet were 
overtaken in a dead calm, either in the middle or at the end of a voyage 
from one part of the coast to another, it would baffle the talents of its offi- 
cers and render the valor of its seamen of no avail. What could be done 
with ships of the line under such circumstances ? Have recourse to oars ? 
That would be impracticable. Use their boats ? What chance would these 
have against our host of gunboats, penicTies, and light vessels, armed and 
equipped as they are ? Besides, the tides and fogs will again increase our 
chances of success. How many of our squadrons are there which have 
escaped from the British cruisers in a fog or during a dark night ? Re- 
member how the Prince of Orange crossed the Channel, and that during 
six hours his fleet passed close to that of James II. without being perceived. 
The Earl of Dartmouth, having ascertained at length that it had sailed, 
bore up in pursuit of it ; but as he began to brace up his yards the wind 
became more ahead, having veered to the south, and he was unable to in- 
terrupt the prince's landing. The same thing afterward occurred to the 
French fleet cruising off Brest. It suffered the ships under the command 
of Admiral Anson to pass without perceiving them ; and this distinguished 
officer did not know the danger he had run until his return to England. 
But these are not our only chances. The English are terror-stricken at our 
preparations, and the malcontents among them are excited with hope. 
Such vessels as ours have always terrified those islanders. In the reign of 
Elizabeth one of her ministers frankly declared that England had never 
been more exposed to the dangers of an invasion than since the King of 
Spain had built small boats similar to those used by the Flemish and the 
French. The same description of vessels has even more recently excited 
the alarms of Boscawen. This admiral knew the amount of our force in 
the Mediterranean ; he knew that, having been defeated in a great naval 
action on the 20th of November, 1759, we were not in a state to attempt 
any enterprise. Still, such was the impression made upon him by our gun- 
boat on the coast, that on seeing a few sails appear on the horizon he had 
no doubt of their forming a part of an invading expedition, and he imme- 
diately stated his apprehensions to the king and the government. In an 
incredibly short space of time all England was in rumor, while the dreaded 
expedition turned out to be nothing but a convoy of colliers.' " See also 
"' Lord Dudley's Letters," p. 37. 


thing unless he adopts a rule of this kind. Arid yet Napier, 
Jomini, Goodrich, and others say that Ney was " notoriously 
indolent." His " Memoirs" show, his whole career from be- 
ginning to end shows, that no assertion could be more false. 
Indeed, Ney worked so hard and required others to work so 
hard that Napoleon was compelled gently to remonstrate with 
him. He told Ney that all men were not so richly endowed 
as he was, and therefore could not stand so much physical and 
mental toil. Ney neglected nothing. He established schools 
of instruction both for officers and men ; he drilled his sol- 
diers several hours daily ; his inspections were frequent and 
thorough ; his discipline was rigorous, yet tempered with 
mercy ; the health and comfort, even the recreations * of his 
soldiers received his most careful attention ; every branch of 
the service was put on the soundest, the most efficient foot- 
ing ; and it was universally conceded that Ney's soldiers at 
Montreuil were the very best in the French army. 

Amid his arduous labors Ney found time to write a valu- 
able treatise on the art of war, which he modestly styled 
" Military Studies," a work, indeed, which is everywhere re' 
garded as a masterpiece of its kind.f 

* " The barraques, or wooden huts, being all built upon the same model, 
and perfectly uniform, had the most agreeable appearance. They were 
whitewashed and divided into groups ; these again were intersected by 
streets, or, rather, alleys, each bearing the name of some distinguished 
soldier or of some great battle won. In front were avenues ; the parade 
was surrounded by plantations ; and in the rear were kitchens, dancing 
rooms, and gardens. . . . Farther on were the eating huts, with their 
fireplaces and benches, and racks for the firelocks and pegs for the knap- 
sacks." " Memoirs." 

f This work has been translated into English by G. H. Gaunter, with an 
Introduction by Major A. James, of the British army, author of " Bat- 
talion Movements," "Brigade Formations," etc. It is dedicated to the 
" officers of the British army." Major James says : " In the ' Military 
Studies of Marshal Ney ' we see the hand of a master ; like the cartoons of 
Raphael, they constitute a monument which bids fair to be cere peren- 
nius. . . . Many of his formations constitute the most valuable portion 
of the French regulations, . . . and his officers at Montreuil were con- 
fessedly the best instructed, the most ready, and the most intelligent in the 
army. Fas est etiam ab hoste doceri. If a military genius like Dundas or 
the Duke of Elchingen appears once in a century, their labors become the 


On the 18th day of May, 1804, the army made Bonaparte 
Emperor of France. The Senatus Consultum did not amount 
to a row of pins. Ney had been quite active in getting up 
and forwarding addresses to the First Consul, urging him to 
assume the imperial purple, in order that he might " consoli- 
date the glorious work which he had so auspiciously begun." 

On the 19th day of May, 1804, eighteen general officers 
were made marshals of the empire. Ney was included in this 
" new aristocracy," as it was popularly called, and it is but 
just to say that no man ever wielded more worthily or more 
brilliantly the " staff of supreme command." 

Bonaparte's plans for the invasion of England failed 
through the notorious incompetency of the French naval offi- 
cers, and because of the very great competency of the British 
naval officers. His land preparations were most excellent. 
It would have been difficult to better them. Two of his best 
officers, Ney and Soult, were in command of the troops des- 
tined for the English expedition, and they neglected nothing 
which was calculated to insure the success of the undertaking. 
Soult, commanding at Boulogne, was almost as active as Ney. 
From daybreak to nightfall he was on horseback, inspecting 
his troops, superintending their various evolutions, or direct- 
ing their labors in the intrenchments. JSTey's preparations for 
the embarkation of his troops were almost perfect. I quote 
from the " Memoirs" : 

" The troops on the coast received orders to hold them- 
selves in readiness to embark at a moment's notice. Ney had 
only to see to the exact execution of the orders transmitted by 

property of the world, and, like the sacred fire of the temple, should be 
religiously preserved." Gaunter 's " Military Studies of Marshal Ney." 

" That Ney united profound science to the experience of a life of active 
warfare is placed beyond a doubt by the manuscripts left in his own hand- 
writing, containing his own observations upon the various campaigns in 
which he served, and also his military studies for the use of his own offi- 
cers when he commanded the camp at Montreuil. To this we may add 
that he first improved upon the old system of military tactics and founded 
the system now followed by the French armies." " Memoirs." 

And yet Napier and Jomini say that Ney " was unlearned in the abstract 
science of war f" 


the minister. He distributed his ammunition and the tools 
he was to take with him among the several transports. He 
then arranged the distribution of the flotilla ; he directed that 
each battalion and each company should make themselves 
acquainted with the vessels assigned to them, and that every 
man should be ready to rush on board at the very first signal. 
But as dispatch necessitates great precision of movement, he 
resolved to drill his troops into such precision by making them 
execute sham embarkations. The divisions composing his 
corps were successively assembled on the shore, and by turns 
escaladed the gunboats in which they were to embark. This 
they executed in the most beautiful style, and Ney was satis- 
fied with it ; but the divisions had only performed it sepa- 
rately ; when together they might display less coolness and 
promptitude, and he resolved to put them to the test. The 
infantry, cavalry, and artillery assumed their arms ; each 
column placed itself opposite to its own vessels. All were 
formed into platoons for embarking, at a little distance from 
each other, and divided by sections. The whole, from left to 
right, were in a parallel line to the anchorage. A first gun 
was fired ; the general officers and staff officers alighted from 
their horses and placed themselves at the head of the troops 
which they were respectively to lead. The drums had ceased 
rolling and the men had unfixed their bayonets. Everything 
was ready and each man prepared. A second gun was heard 
nearer to them, and the generals of divisions gave the word 
of command : ' Prepare to embark ! ' The brigadier-generals 
received it, transmitted it to the colonels, and the latter to 
the officers under them. A dead silence now succeeded ; each 
man was attentive and motionless, and each controlled the in- 
tense excitement under which he labored. A third gun gave 
forth its thunder, and the word ' Forward, columns ! ' imme- 
diately followed. Each soldier now yielded to an almost un- 
controllable emotion. When a last report was heard, the 
word ' March ! ' was pronounced ; it was almost drowned by 
acclamations ; the columns immediately put themselves in 
motion and got into the boats. In ten minutes and a half 
twenty -five thousand men were already on board. The troops 


felt assured that they were immediately to set sail ; they took 
their places, and were engaged in making their quarters com- 
fortable when a shot was unexpectedly fired. The drums 
rolled and called the men to arms ; they formed upon the 
decks of their respective boats. A fresh discharge soon fol- 
lowed the first ; they fancied it was the signal for weighing 
anchor, and they received it with cries of ' Long live the Em- 
peror ! ' but it was only an order to land. They were unable 
to control the expression of their disappointment, which broke 
forth in murmurs. They resigned themselves, however ; and 
scarcely had thirteen 'minutes elapsed before they were again 
upon the leach, formed in line of 'battle. The marshal now 
saw that he could depend upon his preparations, and calcu- 
late to a minute the time his troops would occupy in embark- 

But these splendid troops (about equal, under Ney, to 
Wellington's army which broke up at Bordeaux in 1814) * 
were destined never to cross the English Channel. Pitt soon 
stirred up a powerful coalition against France, and Bonaparte 
quickly changed his plans. Indeed, a general European war 
was inevitable. Bonaparte's restless and sinister ambition ; 
his forcible annexation of territory to which he had not the 
shadow of a claim ; his avowed purpose to continue such 
aggressions ; his dark, his ceaseless intrigues ; his underhand 
system of espionage with respect to other nations ; his swag- 
gering, novus homo insolence these things were simply un- 
bearable, and they would at no distant period have produced 
a general war in Europe even if Pitt had not succeeded in 
organizing a coalition against Napoleon. 

In August, 1805, the French army suddenly quitted the 
coast and marched rapidly to the Austrian frontier. Austria 
was concentrating her troops on the banks of the Danube and 
the Rhine, and the Russian forces were en route for the seat 

* " Speaking of Waterloo, Wellington one day said to two of his general 
officers, sweeping the table with his closed hand : ' Had I had the army 
that broke up at Bordeaux I should have swept Bonaparte off the face of 
the earth in two hours." "Words on Wellington," Eraser. "Voice 
from Waterloo," Sergeant-Major Cotton. 


of war. Napoleon knew that his safety consisted in rapid 
movements and in bold surprises. He was terrible in attack 
and in victory, but nothing, or next to nothing, in defence 
and in defeat. This one fact must forever place him at the 
tail end of great generals. He had the best of lieutenants 
Ney, Soult, Lannes, Murat, Bernadotte, Davoiit. He could 
hardly fail to accomplish his purposes, especially when con- 
tending with an inferior foe. 

Ney was in command of the Sixth Corps. He left Mon- 
treuil on the 28th day of August, and arrived at Lauterburg 
on September 24th. " In this short interval Ney's division 
had executed a march of more than three hundred leagues, 
which was upward of ten leagues a day. History has no ex- 
ample of such rapidity." * 

During this long and toilsome march Ney's arrangements 
and dispositions of every kind were so complete that the war 
minister wrote to him that he had ' i no orders to give him ; 
that he had left nothing for him" (the war minister) " to 
do." In the operations leading up to the capitulation of 
Ulm Ney's troops bore no unimportant part. At Guntz- 
burg (October 9th) and Haslach (llth) they fought with a 
courage and determination which nothing could withstand ; 
which, indeed, so appalled and demoralized the enemy that 
he knew not which way to turn. At Elchingen (14th) Ney 
gained a glorious victory. He and " His Serene Highness," 
Prince Murat, had had a stiff quarrel a few days before.f 

Murat, as the Emperor's brother-in-law and chief lieutenant, 
had given orders to Ney which Ney considered absurd and 
very dangerous to the safety of the troops and the general 
success of the Emperor's plans. Indeed, it is now known that 
Murat would have almost ruined the grand army by his ill- 
considered and violent measures but for the energetic and con- 
tinued remonstrances of Marshal Ney. Ney again and again 

*" Memoirs." 

f " They came very near fighting. . . . Already had Ney written to 
appoint a place of meeting, when, recollecting that he was in the presence 
of the enemy, he altered his mind and resolved to bear that which he could 
not prevent." " Memoirs." 


pointed out to the war minister and the major-general the 
inevitable consequences of Murat's false dispositions, " and 
the Emperor, at last seeing that his communications had been 
given up to the Austrians by Murat's rashness, revoked some 
of his arrangements, and Ney had the satisfaction of receiving 
orders from the Grand Duke himself" (Murat) " to re-occupy 
the positions whose importance he had so vainly endeavored to 
point out." (" Memoirs.)" 

" Napoleon," says Thiers (" Consulate and Empire") " co- 
incided entirely with Marshals Ney and Lannes against Murat, 
and gave instructions for repairing immediately the egregious 
blunders * committed during the preceding days. . . . For 
Key was reserved the honor of executing in the morning 
of the 14th, at Elchingen, the vigorous operation which was 
again to put us in possession of both banks of the river. 
This intrepid marshal was deeply mortified by some indis- 
creet expressions used by Murat in the recent altercation 

* Napoleon, in my opinion, was responsible in a great measure for these 
egregious blunders. He didn't believe that Mack had the slightest idea of 
crossing the Danube and cutting his way into Bohemia ; he was slow to 
act when his attention was called to Murat's " blunders," and he was too 
far from the scene of operations fully to understand and appreciate the 
critical situation in which that portion of his army occupying the left 
bank of the Danube was placed. If Mack had possessed even middling 
military talent he would have crossed the Danube, overthrown Dupont's 
division (the only one left to oppose him), destroyed Napoleon's com- 
munications, and marched in triumph to the Bohemian mountains. It 
could have been done with the utmost ease, and it would have been done, 
in part at least, but for Ney's vigilance and unceasing protests. As it 
was, a portion of the Austrian army " crossed the Danube on October 10th 
and spread like a torrent over the French communications." (" Memoirs".) 
Dupont's division (of Ney's corps) alone saved Napoleon and the army from 
disgrace. Dupont fought a battle at Haslach which would have done 
honor to the greatest generals. Neither Ney nor Wellington could have 
shown more skill, firmness, or courage. It was a miracle that he was not 
overpowered. After the battle of Haslach Napoleon woke up and " re- 
paired immediately Murat's egregious blunders." But suppose Welling- 
ton or even Lord Hill had been in command at Ulm 1 What would have 
become of Napoleon ? His famous " Campaign of Ulm" reflects no credit 
upon him whatever. It is easy to gain victories over steel-plated fools, or 
traitors, or both, like the Austrian General Mack. See Lanfrey's " His- 
tory of Napoleon." 


which he had with him. Murat, as if impatient of too long 
arguments, had told him that he understood nothing of all the 
plans that were explained to him, and that it was his own cus- 
tom not to make his till he was facing the enemy. This was 
the proud answer which a man of action might have addressed 
to an empty babbler. 

" Marshal Ney, on horseback, early in the morning of the 
14th, in full uniform and wearing his decorations, laid hold of 
Murat's arm, and shaking him violently before the whole staff 
and before the Emperor himself, said haughtily, ' Come, 
prince, come along with me and make your plans in face of 
the enemy.' Then, galloping to the Danube, he went, amid 
a shower of balls and grape, having the water up to his horse's 
belly, to direct the perilous operation assigned to him. This 
operation consisted in repairing the bridge, of which nothing 
was left but the piles, without flooring ; passing it ; crossing 
a small meadow that lay between the Danube and the foot of 
the eminence, then making himself master of the village, with 
the convent of Elchingen, which rose amphitheatrically, and 
was guarded by twenty thousand men and a formidable artil- 
lery. It was, indeed, an extraordinary, difficult, and perilous 
task ; but Marshal ISey was fully equal to the emergency. 

' c Undaunted by all the obstacles which presented themselves, 
he ordered an aide-de-camp of General Loison and a sapper to 
lay hold of the first plank and to carry it to the piles of the 
bridge for the purpose of re-establishing the passage under 
the fire of the Austrians. The brave sapper had a leg carried 
away by a grape-shot, but his place was immediately supplied. 
One plank was first thrown in the form of flooring, then a 
second, and a third. Having finished one length, they pro- 
ceeded to the next, till they had covered the last piles under a 
murderous fire of small arms, poured upon the laborers by 
skilful marksmen on the opposite bank." 

Ney crossed the bridge only to encounter fresh difficulties ; 
but these, instead of dampening, served but to increase the 
ardor and determination of himself and his men. He marched 
on from victory to victory until he " gloriously reconquered 
the left bank," shut up Mack and his army in Ulm, and vir- 


tually forced them to one of the most ignominious surrenders 
to be found in the history of war.* The Emperor freely 
acknowledged the value of Key's services by according to his 
corps the place of honor in the final surrender of the Austrian 
army and in the bulletin announcing the victory, f 

After the capitulation Key was sent to the Tyrol, to 
" drive from the mountain fastnesses the Austrian forces 
there assembled under the Archduke John and the Prince of 
Rohan. By a series of masterly movements, the enemy, oc- 
cupying positions hitherto considered impregnable, were de- 
feated at every point, and barely escaped total destruction. 
The Archduke John retreated in great confusion to Vienna, 
his army disheartened and demoralized by a succession of dis- 
asters, and in the beginning of December, Ney, having ac- 
complished with the most brilliant completeness the purpose 
of his detachment, marched to Salzbourg to communicate with 
the main body of the army." (Goodrich, Thiers, Alison.) 

Ney was not at Austerlitz. He was doing better work in 
the Tyrol. At Jena, Ney was simply superb. Some histo- 
rians say he was rash ; but war was Ney's trade, and he was 
master of his trade. What would have been rash in others 
was not rash in him. A giant can easily do many things 
which a pigmy may not attempt. Not unfrequently Ney, by 
his very audacity, united as it was with perfect poise and 
calmness amid the greatest dangers, and a consummate knowl- 
edge of his art, was enabled to gain victories which he clearly 
could not have gained by a more titnid and circumspect course. 

* Lanfrey gives Ney the highest praise for the skill and judgment which 
he uniformly displayed throughout the campaign. 

f " It is from this glorious action that Marshal Ney's title of Duke of 
Elchingen is taken. He exposed his person without hesitation through- 
out the day, and seemed even to court death ; but fate reserved him for 
greater and more melancholy destinies." JOMINI. 

" Dressed in full uniform, Ney was everywhere to be seen at the head 
of the columns leading the soldiers to the conflict, or rallying such as were 
staggering under the close and murderous fire of the Austrians." Ali- 
son's " History of Europe." 

Ney was created Duke of Elchingen March 19th, 1808. The honor, it 
strikes me, was rather long deferred, as the battle was fought October 
14th, 1805. 


ISTej's attacks at the battle of Jena were, it is true, exceed- 
ingly bold, but they were also exceedingly effective. No one 
can doubt that Ney, by his fearless, rapid, and vigorous move- 
ments, coupled with his matchless skill on the field of battle, 
greatly contributed to the success of the day. There was not 
a general in the French army, Bonaparte included (or in the 
Engh'sh army), who could have done what Ney did on that 
memorable day. With a mere handful of soldiers he success- 
fully defended himself against an army which no other man 
would have thought of resisting. He was attacked by the 
whole Prussian cavalry, justly celebrated as the finest in 
Europe ; but after repeated and desperate charges, Ney's two 
weak squares, though suffering severely, remained unbroken. 
As soon as reinforcements arrived Ney coolly formed his 
men again into column, marched straight upon Vierzehn- 
Heiligen, the centre of the enemy's position, and after an 
obstinate conflict captured it. Napoleon, who at first was 
displeased at Key's seeming impetuosity, was highly delighted 
when he saw his invincible marshal in the very heart of the 
enemy's lines. The Austrians were dismayed and confound- 
ed. They knew that such soldiers under such a leader could 
not be whipped.* 

On the 8th day of November the great fortress of Magde- 
burg, by far the most important of the Prussian fortresses, 

* General Jomini says that at Ulm, Jena, and some other places lie was 
Marshal Ney's "providence." This is a piece of insufferable vanity on 
the part of this dilettante warrior. He was a splendid fighter on paper, 
but not once did he distinguish himself on the field of battle. Jomini was 
chief of Ney's staff, but Ney seldom consulted him as to his military 
operations. Now and then he would ask Jomini's opinion about some 
particular plan or movement, but he invariably fell back upon his own 
sound judgment. Bonaparte often held war consultations with Berthier, 
his chief of staff ; but no one will for a moment suppose that Berthier was 
Napoleon's " providence." 

At Ulm, it is well known, Ney rejected the advice of his entire staff 
Jomini included and gained his great victory by carrying out his own 
plans. It can be proved by the official records that Jomini was not even 
acquainted with them. 

Jomini Ney's " providence I" " In cornu tauri parvulus quondam, 
culex consedit." 


containing a garrison of twenty-two thousand men, eight hun- 
dred pieces of cannon, and immense magazines, surrendered 
to Ney, with a greatly inferior force, and almost without re- 
sistance. Ney swore a little, made great threats, threw a few 
bombs into the town, and the frightened garrison capitulated. 
Ney's passage of the Vistula and capture of Thorn, despite 
almost insuperable obstacles, was fully equal in daring and 
skill to Wellington's passage of the Douro and capture of 
Oporto a feat which, when reported to Napoleon, caused 
him to exclaim, " "Wellington is a good general !" 

At Soldau, Ney won imperishable laurels. " The village 
of Soldau is situated amid a marsh impassable except by a 
single causeway, from seven to eight hundred fathoms in 
length, resting sometimes upon the ground, sometimes upon 
bridges, which the enemy had taken care to break down. 
Six thousand Prussians, with cannon, guarded this causeway. 
A first battery enfiladed it longitudinally ; a second, estab- 
lished on a spot judiciously chosen in the marsh, took it 
obliquely. Ney, with the Sixty-ninth and the Seventy-sixth, 
advanced impetuously along it. They threw planks over the 
broken bridges, they carried the batteries at a run, they over- 
turned with the bayonet the infantry drawn up in column on 
the causeway, and entered the village of Soldau pell-mell with 
the fugitives. A most obstinate conflict with the Prussians 
took place then. The French had to storm Soldau house 
by house. This was not accomplished without unparalleled 
efforts, and not till nightfall. But at this moment the gal- 
lant General Lestocq, rallying his columns in rear of Soldau, 
made his soldiers swear to recover the lost post. The Prus- 
sians, treated by the Russians since Jena as the Austrians had 
been treated since Ulm, determined to avenge their honor, 
and to prove that they were not inferior in bravery to any 
nation. And so they did. Four times, from seven in the 
evening till midnight, they attacked Soldau with the bayonet 
and four times they were repulsed. At last they retired, 
having sustained an immense loss in killed and wounded and 
prisoners" (Thiers). 

Many portions of the army suffered greatly in their winter 


cantonments ; but Key's corps was well cared for. Thiers 

" The indefatigable Key had, by his industry and boldness, 
opened a source of abundance for himself. He had approached 
very near to the German country, which is extremely rich ; 
nay, he had even ventured to the banks of the Pregel. Sally- 
ing forth on daring expeditions, he placed his soldiers on 
sledges when it froze and went foraging to the very gates of 
Konigsberg, which, indeed, he had once well-nigh surprised 
and carried. " 

Napoleon, Thiers says, reprimanded Key for these bold in- 
cursions ; and when his advanced guard was attacked by the 
Russians, " Kapoleon conceived at first that it was the excur- 
sions of Marshal Key which had brought reprisals upon him. 
But he was soon enlightened concerning the real cause of the 
appearance of the Russians, and he could not but discover that 
they meditated a serious enterprise, having a totally different 
aim from that of contending for the cantonments." The fact 
is, Marshal Key's " bold excursions" were of immense bene- 
fit to Kapoleon' s army. They saved it from surprise, and ; 
scattered as it was, from probable defeat. 

Key was so active and enterprising that he detected the first 
movements of the enemy and promptly communicated them 
to Bernadotte and Soult, who were near him, and to Kapo- 
leon. But for this timely and certain intelligence a consid- 
erable portion of Bonaparte's army would, in all probability, 
have been cut off and captured certainly it would have been 
exposed to very great peril. Thiers frankly admits this. 
Key made some mistakes ; but I do not hesitate to say that 
he ms^Q fewer mistakes than any general of his time. 

Kapoleon knew what Key was worth, or he would not have 
placed him, as he always did, in the most important and re- 
sponsible positions. In the present instance Bernadotte, even 
with the early intelligence which Key gave him, was barely 
able to save himself from destruction. I quote from Thiers : 

" The troops of Marshal Bernadotte, scattered as far as 
Ebling, near the Frische Haff, had great distances to go in 
order to rally ; and if General Benningsen had marched 


rapidly he might have surprised and destroyed them before 
their concentration was effected." 

Eylau was a drawn battle. Ney saved Bonaparte from an 
absolute and serious defeat. Lestoeq would have ruined him ; 
but Ney struck Lestocq almost as soon as Lestocq struck 
Napoleon. No thanks to Napoleon for Ney's timely arrival 
at Eylau. It was due to Ney's irrepressible energy and to a 
warlike instinct which never deceived him.* 

Fezensac, in his ( ( Memoirs, ' ' says : 

" Selon M. Thiers, Napoleon envoya dans la soiree du 7 
plusieurs officiers aux Marechaux Davout et Ney pour les 
ramener sur le champ de bataille. C'est une erreur en ce qui 
concern e le Marechal Ney ; il ne recut aucun avis, et ne se 
doutait pas de la bataille quand je le joignis le 8 a deux heures, 
dans la direction de Kreutzbourg." 

Ney's retreat from Deppen was a marvellous feat. It has 
few equals. Let Plotho, the Russian historian, describe it : 

" The French, consummate masters in the art of war, re^ 
solved on that day this very difficult problem to execute a 
retreat that is become indispensable, in the face of an enemy 
who is much stronger and urgently pressing, and to render it 
as little prejudicial as possible. They extricated themselves 
from the situation with the utmost skill. The calmness and 
order and, at the same time, the rapidity shown by Ney's corps 
in assembling at the signal of three cannon shot ; the coolness 
and attentive circumspection with which it executed its re- 
treat, during which it opposed a resistance renewed at every 
step, and knew how to avail itself in a masterly manner of 
every position all this proved the talent of the captain who 
commanded the French and the habit of war carried by them 
to perfection as strongly as the finest dispositions and the 
most scientific execution of an offensive operation could have 
done. For attacking with success, as well as for opposing a 
regular resistance in a retreat, there are required rare qualities, 
virtues difficult to practise ; and yet it is necessary that all these 

* Thiers says that Napoleon, the evening before the battle, dispatched 
several officers to Marshal Ney to bring him to the field of battle, etc. 
This is TQ^skf^f^ untrue. Ney received no order from Napoleon. 

(From an Engraving by H. R. Cook. 1817.) 


should be combined in the same person to form the great cap- 

At Friedland, Ney occupied the post of honor, and more 
than met the expectations of Napoleon. The Emperor ap- 
pointed him to commence the action. The Russians were 
huddled together in an elbow of the river Alle. They had 
nobody to command them, but they were ready to fight and 
die. Napoleon surveyed them with attention. Surrounded 
by his lieutenants, he " explained to them the part which each 
had to act in that battle. Grasping the arm of Marshal Ney, 
and pointing to Friedland, the bridges, the Russians crowded 
together in front, ' Yonder is the goal,' said he ; ' march to it 
without looking about you ; break into that thick mass, 
whatever it costs you ; enter Friedland ; take the bridges, and 
give yourself no concern about what may happen on your 
right, on your left, or on your rear. The army and I shall 
be there to attend to that. ' Ney, boiling with ardor, proud 
of the formidable task assigned him, set out at a gallop to 
arrange his troops before the wood of Sortlack. Struck with 
his martial attitude, Napoleon, addressing Marshal Mortier, 
said, ' That man is a lion.' " (Thiers.) 

In 1808 Ney was sent into Spain, but the Spanish war did 
not suit him. He opposed it in council from beginning to 
end ; and had Napoleon listened to him, he would have 
avoided one of the greatest errors of his life. Ney foresaw 
nothing but disaster, yet he labored in general as faithfully in 
this new field as if success were absolutely assured. A French 
officer has related a singular scene which occurred at Madrid : 

" After a grand review at Madrid, the Emperor entered 
the room where Ney and many other officers were assembled. 
He was in the best of spirits, from some favorable dispatches 
which he had just received. l Everything goes on well, ' said 
he. l Romana will be reduced in a fortnight ; the English 
are defeated, and will be unable to advance. In three months 
this war will be finished.' None of the other generals ven- 
tured to reply, bat the Duke of Elchingen shook his head, 
and with a dissatisfied look, said : l Sire, the war. has lasted 
long already, and I cannot perceive, like you, that our affairs 


are much improved. These people are obstinate ; even their 
women and children fight ; they massacre our men in detail. 
To-day we cut the enemy in pieces, to-morrow we have to op- 
pose another twice as numerous. It is not an army we have 
to fight ; it is a whole nation. I see no end to the business. ' 
While he was speaking, the Emperor regarded him with a 
fixed look. When Key had ceased, he turned to the other 
officers and said : ' This country is a Vendee but have I not 
subdued Vendee ? The Calabrians were formerly insurgents ; 
wherever there are mountains there will be insurrections ; but 
now the kingdom of Naples is peaceable enough. Here the 
people are instigated to resistance by the clergy ; but the 
Romans subdued them ; so did the Moors ; and they are not 
to be compared with their ancestors. I will strengthen the 
government ; 1 will bind the grandees to my interest, and fire 
on the rabble. If Julius Caesar had been daunted by difficul- 
ties, would he have conquered Gaul ? The population is said 
to be against us ; this Spain is but a solitude not five inhab- 
itants to a square league ! But let the question be decided by 
numbers. I will bring all Europe over the Pyrenees." (" Court 
and Camp of Bonaparte.")* 

At Soria, Napoleon blamed Ney for his circumspection a 
queer charge to bring against him ; but the truth is, Napoleon 
himself was in error. Ney was right. A careful study of 
Napoleon's orders to Ney,f and of the whole situation, will 

* Ney, of course, was right, as the sequel proved. Napoleon was a 
very poor judge of human nature. He could easily detect talent, cun- 
ning, and selfishness, but of the higher, nobler part of man's nature he 
knew little or nothing. This marked defect in his understanding was one 
of the prime causes of his ruin. 

f " Napoleon's order to Ney was inexact and ill conceived, and the 
manoeuvre which the marshal was instructed to perform was of a most 
hazardous description. The perplexity which he has been reproached for 
having felt on this occasion does as much honor to his coup d'&il as to his 
patriotism. . . . The order, dated at four P.M., November 21st, stated 
that the battle was to take place at Calahorra. Ney could not, at the ear- 
liest, have received it until five or six o'clock in the afternoon of the 22d, 
and it must then have appeared too late to begin a march of twenty 
leagues in order to take part in a battle that would be over before Tie could 
start." Lanfrey's " History of Napoleon." 


show that Ney did precisely what any good, prudent general 
ought to have done. 

" Napoleon," says Marshal Grouchy, " oftentimes gave 
vague and ambiguous orders, so that if anything went wrong 
he could easily throw the blame upon some of his lieutenants. 
If Ney had had command of the troops at Corunna, Sir John 
Moore's army would not have gotten off so easily."* 

Napoleon seems originally to have intended that Ney should 

* Colonel Napier, in his " History of the Peninsular War," relates an inci- 
dent whiclf reflects the highest credit both upon Marshal Soult and Marshal 
Ney. It is a silver lining to the murky clouds of war. Major Napier, Col- 
onel Napier's brother, was wounded and made prisoner at the battle of 
Corunna. He was reported killed. " The morning after the battle," says 
Napier, " the Duke of Dalmatia (Soult), being apprised of Major Napier's 
situation, had him conveyed to good quarters, and with a kindness and 
consideration very uncommon wrote to Napoleon, desiring that his pris- 
oner might not be sent to France, which (from the system of refusing 
exchanges) would have been destructive to his professional prospects. 
The marshal also obtained for the drummer (who had saved him from 
being murdered by a French soldier) the decoration of the Legion of Honor. 
The events of the war obliged Soult to depart in a few days from Corunna, 
but he recommended Major Napier to the attention of Marshal Ney, and that 
marshal also treated his prisoner with the kindness of a friend rather than 
the rigor of an enemy, for he quartered him with the French Consul, sup- 
plied him with money, gave him a general invitation to his house on all 
public occasions, and refrained from sending him to France. Nor did 
Marshal Ney's kindness stop there ; for when the flag of truce arrived, and 
he became acquainted with the situation of Major Napier's family, he 
suddenly waived all forms, and instead of answering the inquiry by a cold 
intimation of the captive's existence, sent him, and with him the few 
English prisoners taken in the battle, at once to England, merely demand- 
ing that none should serve until regularly exchanged. I should not have 
dwelt thus long upon the private adventures of an officer, but that grati- 
tude demands a public acknowledgment of such generosity, and the de- 
mand is rendered imperative by the after misfortunes of Marshal Ney. 
That brave and noble-minded man's fate is but too well known. He who 
had fought five hundred battles for France not one against her was 
shot as a traitor ! Could the bitterest enemy of the Bourbons have 
more strongly marked the difference between their interests and those of 
the nation ?" 

A noble tribute from a noble man. No wonder the English people were 
opposed to Ney's execution. No wonder Wellington thought that his 
conduct as to Ney would be made the subject of parliamentary investiga- 


pursue the English to the coast, but unavoidable circumstances 
prevented him from carrying out this intention. Soult was 
nearer the English, and he was put in command of the army. 
Key behaved very generously toward him. He offered to 
join him at once ; but Soult was jealous of Ney, and after 
considerable hesitation and delay, requested him to send him 
one of his divisions when it was too late for that division to 
be of any use to him. Ney and Soult together could have 
destroyed the Marquis de la Roniana ; but Soult deceived 
Ney, broke his promises, and refused to act with him. Key's 
dispositions were good, but he could do nothing without the 
co-operation of Soult. Napoleon, away off in Austria or Ger- 
many, knew little about the real condition of affairs in Spain, 
and had most unwisely placed Marshals Ney and Mortier under 
the command of Soult. He afterward deeply regretted this 
act. He blamed Soult severely for his conduct toward 
Ney,* and authorized Ney to return to France to relieve 
him from the embarrassing position in which he had been 

During Ney's occupation of Gah'cia and the Asturias, he 
defeated the organized forces, put down most of the insurgent 
bands, and governed the country with a firm yet not ungentle 
hand. He had a sea of troubles to contend against. The 
English constantly menaced the coast (he had more than one 
hundred leagues to guard), and the guerilla parties, composed 
of men, women and children, attacked him fiercely from 
every quarter and in every imaginable way. This was a new 
species of warfare, to which Ney was unaccustomed, and for 
awhile it greatly annoyed him. But he finally reduced the 
country to something like orderly submission, and, what was 
still better, succeeded by his kindness and humanity in gain- 

* " Soult behaved toward Ney in a manner that no proud man for- 
gives. ' ' LANFREY. 

The truth is, Soult was exceedingly jealous of Ney ; but Ney, though 
very angry with him, and taking little pains to conceal his anger, treated 
him with great magnanimity. " Soult's army came from Oporto ex- 
hausted by fatigue, their clothes torn in shreds, without shoes, baggage, 
ammunition, or artillery." Ney supplied all their wants, and afterward 
took care of Soult's sick and wounded. 


ing no small share of the love and confidence of the people 
whom he governed.* 

If Ney had literally carried out Napoleon's instructions he 
could not have succeeded in Galicia. He was cut off from 
the other troops, and he was compelled to exercise his best 
judgment as to his military operations or fail utterly in the 
accomplishment of his purpose. Lanfrey says : 

" The Emperor had instructed Ney to fortify himself at 
Lugo. . . . Lugo, no doubt, was the geographical centre of 
Galicia, but it was far from being its centre from the point of 
view of population, riches, influence, or political importance. 
Corunna united all these conditions, . . . and as the danger 
which chiefly threatened us in Galicia was to be sought, not 
in the centre, but along the seaboard of that province, where 
we had perpetually to defend ourselves against the landing of 
the English, it may be said that, even from a strategic point 
of view, Ney acted very wisely in preferring to station him- 
self at Corunna rather than at Lugo." 

In 1810 Ney acted under Massena in the invasion of Por- 
tugal, f and if Massena had followed Ney's advice he would 
not have left Portugal, as he did leave it, a disgraced and 
broken-hearted man. Ney captured the strong fortresses of 
Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida, and at the battle of the Coa, 
on July 24th, defeated General Crawfurd, of the English 
army. If General Montbrun had obeyed Ney's order to seize 
the bridge over the Coa (the only line of retreat open to the 
English), the greater part of Crawfurd's division would un- 
doubtedly have been captured. At Busaco, on the 27th, 

* " Galicia and Salamanca, provinces particularly hostile to the French, 
have nevertheless preserved the recollections of Ney's integrity while gov- 
ernor of them. One only spoil of a conquered country did Ney bequeath 
to his descendants : this is a relic of St. James of Compos tello, with which 
the monks of St. Jago presented him, in testimony of his humanity toward 
them." " Memoirs of Ney." 

t " I have been informed that Marshal Ney resumed the command of 
the Sixth Corps under the impression that he was to conduct the enter- 
prise against Portugal, but that the intrigues of Marshal Berthier, to 
whom he was obnoxious, frustrated his hopes. " (Napier's "Peninsular 
War." See also Thiers' " History of the Consulate and the Empire.)" 


Massena met with a signal repulse. Ney, who was in ad- 
vance, was very anxious to attack the English two days be- 
fore, but Massena would not permit him to do so. 

Clinton (" History of the Peninsular War") says : " Ney, on 
the 25th, observing that the heights of Busaco were yet only 
half occupied, and that the allies were moving up in some dis- 
order, sent off to Massena, who was about ten miles in the 
rear, to obtain permission for an immediate attack. But Mas- 
sena kept Key's messenger waiting two hours, and then re- 
plied that no action could take place before his own arrival at 
the front. The French thus lost the opportunity of almost 
certain victory, and when Massena came up at noon on the 
following day (the 26th) the allies were securely posted along 
the sierra." 

Napier, speaking of Ney's eagerness to attack on the 25th, 
says : " Ney, whose military glance was magical, perceived in 
an instant that the position a crested, not a table mountain 
could not hide any strong reserve ; that it was scarcely half 
occupied, and that the allied troops were moving from one 
place to another with that sort of confusion which generally 
attends the first taking up of unknown ground. He therefore 
desired to make an early and powerful attack ; but Ney's 
aide-de-camp was told at headquarters that everything must 
await Massena's arrival. . . . Thus a most favorable oppor- 
tunity was lost ; for the first division of the allies, although 
close at hand, was not upon the ridge ; Leith's troops were in 
the act of passing the Mondego, and Hill was still behind the 
Alva. Scarcely twenty-five thousand men were actually in 
line, and there were great intervals between the divisions." 

When Massena arrived at Busaco, Wellington's position was 
so strong that few officers of either army believed that Mas- 
sena would be foolish enough to attack it. Ney, in a council 
of war, held on the evening of the 25th, frankly told Massena 
that two days before the heights could have been captured, 
but that now they were almost impregnable. But Massena 
was determined to fight, and nothing could stop him. He 
failed, as Ney and others predicted that he would. A few 
loose historians allege that Ney gave Massena but a half- 


hearted support. This is false. Key's attacks were as bold 
and determined as any that he ever made.* No one could 
have captured those heights. Wellington retired behind the 
formidable lines of Torres Vedras, and in the following March 
Massena was compelled to make a disastrous retreat. Ney 
commanded the rear-guard, and by his marvellous energy 
and ability saved the French army from complete destruc- 

In the very beginning of the retreat Ney adroitly deceived 
Wellington, and thus gained time for the army to get a run- 
ning start of the great duke. The marshal's movements were 
so bold, so mysterious, so happily conceived, that Wellington 
thought, as Ney wished him to think, he was meditating a return 
to Torres Vedras. This uncertainty as to Ney's movements 
caused Wellington to suspend offensive operations for several 
hours. Meanwhile, the French army was marching rapidly to 
the rear. At Pombal, Wellington overtook Ney, and a con- 
siderable combat occurred. Ney drove back the English to 
the little river Arunca, where several of them were drowned, 
set fire to the village of Pombal, and continued his retreat 
leisurely on the right bank of the Arunca in defiance of the 
British, who were strongly posted on the opposite bank. This 
spirited and well-executed movement retarded the march of 
the English army for several hours. After leaving Pombal, 
Ney disputed every inch of ground with the pursuing enemy. 
General Picton, of the English army, says that every move- 
ment which Ney made was a " perfect lesson in the art of 
war. Moving at all times on his flank, I had an opportunity 
of seeing everything he did, and I must be dull in the extreme 

* " During the whole day of September 27th the corps of Regnier and of 
Ney fought desperately on the abrupt slopes of the mountain, but success 
was impossible." LANFREY. 

f He had previously saved it from starvation. " We shall hereafter 
show the wonders he (Ney) effected in providing food for his forces dur- 
ing the Portuguese campaign in a country ravaged by war, when by 
almost superhuman exertions he succeeded in meeting not only the con- 
sumption of the Sixth Corps, which he commanded, but that of the whole 
army, during the six months it remained upon the banks of the Tag as." 
" Memoirs of Ney." 


if I had not derived some practically useful knowledge from 
such an example. ' ' * 

At Redinha, Ney was grand. " He resolved to remain sev- 
eral hours before Redinha with the Mermet division alone and 
his three regiments of cavalry and some guns, as if to show 
what might be done with seven thousand against twenty-five 
thousand by skilful manoeuvring on a ground well adapted for 
defence. Proudly resting on the heights which he was about 
to dispute, he had his four infantry regiments deployed in two 
ranks, his artillery a little in advance, numerous bands of 
tirailleurs scattered right and left in convenient positions, and 
his three cavalry regiments in the rear, in the centre, ready to 
charge through the intervals of the infantry at the first favor- 
able moment. 

" The English, drawn out in the plain, continued their 
manoeuvre practised daring the day, and endeavored to out- 
flank us. Generals Picton and Pack attempted to climb the 
heights on our left to dispute with Ney the retreat upon 
Redinha, while Generals Cole and Spencer advanced in deep 
columns to the centre, and Erskine's light infantry endeav- 
ored to cross the river on our right by the fords previously 
selected by our cavalry. But ISTey, employing every arm 
with equal presence of mind, began by riddling with bullets 
Picton's troops ; and, by destroying whole lines, he obliged 
them to escape by an oblique movement ; but having suc- 
ceeded in mastering the heights after great loss, they advanced 
against the flank of Key almost on a level, and were within 
gunshot when the latter, bringing to bear upon them six guns, 
covered them with shot, and then directed against them a bat- 
talion of the Twenty-seventh and one of the Fifty-ninth, and 
all his tirailleurs, who had rallied and been formed into a third 
battalion. These three small columns vigorously charged 
Picton's English with the bayonet, and threw them to the 
foot of the heights after killing and wounding a considerable 

" In a few moments the rout at this spot was complete. 

* " Life of Sir Thomas Picton," by H. B. Robinson, vol. ii. 


Lord Wellington then advanced his centre to rally and res- 
cue his right, and to attack the position of the French in 
front. . . . After a discharge of artillery and musketry, 
Ney charged them with the bayonet, driving them to the 
sloping ground. He then sent against them the Third Hus- 
sars, who broke their first line and sabred many of their foot. 
At this moment the confusion in the whole body of the Eng- 
lish was extreme ; and if Key, by having kept near him the 
Marchand division, had been able more fully to engage that 
of Mermet, the rout would have been general and irrevocable. 
However, Ney, unwilling to compromise his troops, recalled 
them, drew them up in battle array, and remained in position 
another hour, continually breaking the ranks of the English 
by ball. It was now four o'clock. Lord Wellington, touched 
to the quick at seeing himself thus detained and damaged by 
a handful of men, collected his whole army, formed it in four 
lines, and advanced with the evident determination to force 
the position at any cost. Ney effected his retreat with the 
same decision and vigor as had characterized the day.* 

" The English were obliged to halt upon the Soure after a 
laborious day which had cost them not less than eighteen hun- 
dred in killed and wounded, while we had lost scarcely two 
hundred. The French army, under the command of its ablest 
manceuvrer, had on this occasion exhibited every form of 
perfection which it attains when it combines education with 
natural qualifications. ... If on this occasion Ney had been 
as bold in command as he had been skilful in manoauvring, he 
would certainly have driven the English far back ; but under 
the influence of prudential considerations, not ill founded, he 
confined himself to a combat of the rear-guard, when he might 
have ventured on a general battle with success. The British 

* The battle of Redinha, when taken in connection with the operations 
leading up to it, was a peerless feat of arms. Ney's positions were so 
well chosen, his " handful of men" so skilfully arranged, his manoeuvres 
so brilliant, his blows so daring, so hard, so well delivered, that he kept 
Wellington's whole army at bay for six consecutive hours. Wellington 
thought that Massena's whole army was before him. The Iron Duke was 
deeply chagrined when he discovered that he had been so egregiously 


army would probably have experienced a sanguinary defeat, 
and would have paid dear for the honor of having forced us 
to quit the Tagus" (Thiers 5 " History of the Consulate and 
the Empire. " See also Alison's " Lives of Castlereagh and 
Stuart," and Wright's " Wellington"). 

At Condeixa, at Casalnovo, at Miranda do Corvo, at Foz 
d'Aronce, at the Sierra de Murcelha at every point of the 
retreat Ney maintained himself with matchless steadiness, 
vigor, decision, and judgment. He has been blamed by 
Koch, Massena, and others for burning Condeixa and making 
a hasty retreat ; but it was simply unavoidable. Wellington, 
finding that he could not force Ney's position in front, 
although he had three times as many men as the French mar- 
shal, sent Picton's division by a long and circuitous route un- 
known to Massena to cut off Ney from his only line of re- 
treat. When Ney saw that he was about to be separated 
from the main body of the army, " he would have been fran- 
tic," says Napier, " to have delayed his movement." 

Koch, in his " Memoirs of Massena," also says that Key 
ought to have remained longer at Ponte de Murcelha ; but he 
is either dishonest or densely ignorant of the facts of the case. 
]S"ey did everything in his power to carry out Massena's 
orders at the Sierra de Murcelha, but General Regnier pre- 
vented him from doing so. Massena had directed Regnier to 
connect with Ney's left to protect him from a flank movement 
by the English ; but Regnier, engaged in pillaging, refused 
to obey Massena ; and N"ey, seeing the English advance be- 
yond his left, was compelled to abandon the position of Ponte 
de Murcelha.* 

Ney had saved the army. No one can doubt that. This 
retreat alone would make Ney immortal. Napier says : 
" Ney, with a wonderfully happy mixture of courage, readi- 

* " General Regnier has put me in the greatest embarrassment. I shall 
be obliged to set out at once, as every moment of delay may induce the 
ruin of the army, which has hitherto escaped as if by a miracle. This 
conduct of General Regnier is frightful." Ney to Massena. 

This extract proves conclusively that Ney was willing and anxious to 
execute Massena's instructions. 


ness, and skill illustrated every league of ground by some sig- 
nal combination of war" (" History of the Peninsular War"). 

" The glory of this memorable retreat was the only consid- 
erable advantage derived by Marshal Ney from his services in 
Spain. That retreat was a most brilliant one, and conferred 
as much honor on the Duke of Elchingen as the proudest 
victory he had ever gained. He sustained unmoved the in- 
cessant assaults of Lord Wellington's overwhelming forces, 
though the corps which he commanded consisted of no more 
than six thousand men, and thus enabled the army to retire in 
perfect order to Miranda do Corvo" (" Court and Camp of 

At Celorico, Massena and Ney had an open and a bitter 
quarrel. Key flatly refused to obey Massena. Massena de- 
prived him of his sword, sent him into the " interior of Spain 
to await the Emperor's orders," and gave the command of his 
corps to General Loison. It is not my purpose to enter fully 
into the details of this unfortunate quarrel between Ney and 
the commander-iii-chief of the Army of Portugal. One 
thing, however, is perfectly clear : Ney ought to have obeyed 
Massena, whether Massena was right or wrong ; whether the 
orders were good, bad, or indifferent. And no one knew this 
better than Marshal Ney himself. But the provocation was 
exceedingly great. Ney was disgusted with Massena, and he 
had a right to be. Massena was constantly complaining of 
weariness and fatigue, loss of energy, etc., which complaints, 
under the circumstances, made him the laughing-stock of the 
whole army. 

" He had the weakness," says Thiers, " to seek a solace for 
his protracted labors in a species of pleasure which should 
never be presented to the eye of those whom we may be re- 
quired to command. He was followed by a woman who had 
never quitted him during the whole campaign, and whose car- 
riage the soldiers were required to escort in the most difficult 
and dangerous roads. In victory the soldier laughs at the 
irregularities of his commander ; in ill fortune they are re- 
garded as crimes" (" History of the Consulate and the Em- 


Such conduct on the part of the commanding officer was 
destructive of all discipline in the army, and filled Ney with su- 
preme disgust. Besides, Massena had treated Ney 's suggestions 
and recommendations most of which were eminently sound 
at all times with disrespect, and sometimes with disdain. Mas- 
sena's slowness he moved like a snail his unaccountable de- 
lays, his obstinacy in trying to carry out impracticable plans,* his 
want of energy, his peculations, his rapacity, his intense selfish- 
ness, his littleness of soul, his avarice, his dissipations, his inabili- 
ty to govern himself or to maintain discipline in the army these 
things had borne their legitimate fruit. Officers and soldiers 
alike had lost all respect for him as a man, and almost all for 
his genius as a soldier. As to the merits of the controversy 
between Massena and Ney, it is clear, to my mind, that Ney 
was right. Massena wished to make a second invasion of Por- 
tugal, notwithstanding the disastrous issue of the first ; but 
Ney, Regnier, Junot, and almost all the officers and men in 
the entire army were bitterly opposed to it. It was, indeed, 
a mad project. Even Thiers, who worships Massena, con- 
demns it. But Massena was insanely bent upon a second 
campaign on the Tagus, and nothing could stop him. 

With this end in view, he ordered Ney to march his corps 
to a " rocky desert, dry and poor, where could be found 
neither bread, meat, nor vegetables ; where the only recrea- 
tion was to behold a well-fed enemy, to be subject to continual 
alarms in the rear, and to be deluged with torrents of rain. 
To announce that after three or four days of inaction and 
famine in that detestable place it should be considered rested 
and required to defile before Old Castile, to descend into 
Estremadura, where it had remained awhile at the time of the 
battle of Talavera without meeting with abundance, though 
the country was hitherto untouched, was to drive the corps to 
despair" (Thiers). 

This was the straw which broke the camel's back. Ney 
refused to obey Massena unless he produced the Emperor's 
orders for a new invasion of Portugal. Massena very prop- 

* Napoleon rebuked Massena sharply for his bad management of the 
Portuguese campaign. 


\fafif. C.}S 


erly deprived him of his sword and sent him into the heart of 
Spain. JSley ought to have obeyed his commanding officer, 
regardless of the Emperor's orders. And 1 repeat, no one 
knew this better than Ney himself.* 

Massena undertook no second invasion of Portugal. In- 
deed, after Key left the army he was compelled to adopt the 
very plans which Ney suggested. 

Alison (" History of Europe") says : " These checks" (by 
Wellington) " convinced Massena of the justice of Key's opin- 
ion that the army must seek for rest behind the cannon of 
Ciudad Rodrigo ; and he therefore threw a garrison into Al- 
meida and retreated with the bulk of his forces across the 
frontier to that fortress, and thence to Salamanca." 

On March 29th Wellington attacked Massena, strongly 
posted on the summit of the Guarda Mountain. This posi- 
tion, one of the " strongest in Portugal," says Captain 
Sherer, " was abandoned by the French with the utmost pre- 
cipitation without one effort for its defence." This result 
was due, says Napier, to the " absence of Ney." 

The English, who had so often felt the strong arm of the 
French marshal, knowing that he had quitted the army, at- 
tacked Massena with increased confidence and vigor ; and the 
French, feeling that they were deprived of the only man who 
was able to cope with the English, were panic-stricken, and 
fled pell-mell down the mountain sides like a flock of senseless 

* Ney thus wrote to Massena : " I know that I assume great responsi- 
bility in opposing you. But even if I am to be dismissed, or to lose my 
head, I will not follow the movement on Placencia and Coria unless it is 
ordered by the Emperor." It turned out, as Ney suspected, that Napoleon 
had not ordered the movement. Indeed, the Emperor condemned it in no 
measured terms. After Ney had written his letter to Massena, the English 
again set themselves in motion, and a battle seemed imminent. Ney im- 
mediately wrote Massena a kind and conciliatory letter, stating that " at the 
approach of the enemy he felt in duty bound to abide by the army." But 
Massena was inflexible, and " Ney," says Thiers, " quitted the Sixth Corps, 
filled with regret for his loss, but with no disposition to revolt." They 
did not revolt, he might have said, simply because Ney positively forbade 
them to do so. The Sixth Corps idolized Ney. A word from him would 
have set the corps on fire (see " Memoirs of Ney"). Thiers adds : " Mar- 
shal Ney followed up a momentary error by a praiseworthy submission." 


sheep. Napier pays Ney the highest compliment in his 
power when he says : " The absence of Ney was at once felt 
by both armies ; the appearance of the allied columns for the 
first time threw the French into the greatest confusion, and, 
without firing a shot, this great and nearly impregnable po- 
sition was abandoned. " * Thus terminated a campaign which 
brought fame and glory to Ney and dishonor and shame to 
Massena. With undoubted genius for war, Massena yet 
lacked that moral force without which genius is worth noth- 
ing. He never recovered from the shock. The dying embers 
flashed up a little on the hard-fought field of Fuentes- 
d'Onore. It was his last battle. Over his tomb in Pere la 
Chaise is a splendid obelisk of white marble, with the simple 
inscription : MASSENA. " Take him for all in all," he de- 
serves such a monument. 

* The author of " Cyril Thornton," in his " Annals of the Peninsular 
War," says with great justice and force : "In this retreat it was impossi- 
ble to exceed the skill and boldness with which this officer [Ney], taking 
advantage of every favorable position, foiled and delayed the pursuit of 
a force ten times more numerous than that which he commanded. Resist- 
ance was uniformly made till the very last moment when it could be con- 
tinued with safety. All his movements were marked by a promptitude 
and precision highly admirable ; by a fearless confidence, ever bold, yet 
never degenerating into rashness. From the moment when Ney quitted 
the army a decrease of energy and vigor was discernible. Worn by priva- 
tion and fatigue, and looking back on a campaign which presented few 
features calculated to lighten and redeem the gloom by which it was over- 
spread, the French soldiers no longer felt confidence in their leader. All 
that was gallant and daring in the retreat was attributed to Ney ; while 
the timid policy of Massena was made responsible for the misfortunes of 
the campaign. The departure of Ney was regarded as a misfortune by the 
whole army, and the lingering hope that the campaign might yet termi- 
nate in some honorable and distinguished achievement gave place to fore- 
bodings of misfortune. These anticipations were not belied by the event. 
Massena was driven disgracefully from his position at Guarda ; and he at 
length entered Spain with an army whose moral confidence was gone." 


IN 1812 Ney accompanied Napoleon in his famous ex- 
pedition to Russia. He was placed in command of the 
Third Corps, numbering 37,400 men, to which three divi- 
sions of the First Corps were subsequently added. In com- 
mon with most of Napoleon's best officers, Ney was op- 
posed to this foolish invasion ; but Bonaparte was determined 
to destroy, if possible, the power of Russia, and, through 
Russia, the power of England, and nothing could turn 
him from his purpose. " Whom the gods intend to de- 
stroy, they first make mad." But though Ney was opposed 
to the invasion, he was yet the right arm of Napoleon from 
the beginning to the end of the campaign. Indeed, before 
the close of the war the Emperor had entirely disappeared, 
the grand army had disappeared, and Ney alone remained. 

The Emperor, the grand army, the French Empire itself lived 
only in Ney. Before Moscow was reached, Ney was con- 
stantly in the vanguard, pursuing the Russians with his wonted 
vigilance and vigor. His steady valor and sound judgment 
were of great benefit to Napoleon on many a critical occasion. 
At Krasnoi, Ney had quite a serious brush with the enemy, 
but his dispositions were so good that the Russians were 
quickly defeated and retired in considerable confusion. At 
Smolensko a ball struck him on the neck and tore away a por- 
tion of his coat-collar. He was not so successful here as he 
had been at Krasnoi, because the orders issued by Napoleon 
to those who were to assist in the movement were not prompt- 
ly executed. 

Ney now made a last effort to induce Bonaparte to suspend 
his operations, to winter at Smolensko, to establish a fortified 
camp, to recruit his army, to collect stores of all kinds, and 
be ready for a general advance in the spring. He was fully 


convinced that to penetrate into the heart of Russia at so late 
a period of the year, especially when Bonaparte's losses of 
every kind had already been so great, could but result in de- 
feat and ruin to the entire army. His was the counsel of a 
wise man, but Napoleon was displeased with Ney's frankness 
of speech. At a council held at Smolensko, Ney spoke his 
mind so freely that the Emperor replied with considerable 
asperity : " Duke of Elchingen, I am well aware that in 
bravery and attachment to my person and interests you have 
no superior ; but you do not know the Russians ; they are not 
like the Germans ; they will receive us with open arms they 
sigh for our arrival as earnestly as the Jews for the coming of 
their Messiah. I will give freedom to the people civilized by 
Peter the Great. 1 will put the finishing hand to his great 
work by providing the Russians with the Code Napoleon." 

Caulaincourt agreed with the Emperor, using many flatter- 
ing expressions which were exceedingly distasteful to Ney. 
" "Would to Heaven," said he, with characteristic bluntness, 
" the honeyed language of this diplomatic general may not 
prove more injurious to the army than the most bloody bat- 
tle !" 

His words were prophetic. At Valoutina there can be lit- 
tle doubt that Ney would have almost destroyed Barclay de 
Tolly but for the inactivity and impotence of Junot. That 
general, siirnamed la tempete, was anything but a tem- 
pest on this occasion. Ney had attacked the Russians in 
front, and after an obstinate conflict had completely routed 
them. Junot was on their flank with the Westphalian 
troops ; but at the critical moment his mind became par- 
alyzed, and he failed utterly to execute the orders which had 
been given him. A vigorous charge by this unfortunate offi- 
cer would have completed the victory. Napoleon was very 
angry with him. " What was Junot about?" said he. "I 
shall deprive him of his command. He has irretrievably lost 
his marshal's staff." 

At the battle of Borodino, or of the Moskva, the bloodiest, 
perhaps, of modern times, Ney surpassed himself, and richly 
earned the title which Napoleon gave him on the battlefield 


Prmce de la Moskowa. For a considerable time after the 
battle began, Napoleon kept Ney close by his side, and would 
not allow him to engage in the fight, although he was exceed- 
ingly anxious to do so. Napoleon wished to save him for a 
critical moment, when his blows would tell most powerfully 
for him and his empire. He well knew that he had no officer 
who could carry his men so far into the battle and hold them 
there so long as the ' f bravest of the brave. ' ' It was well for 
Napoleon that Ney was with him, for Ney alone saved him 
from a crushing defeat. All historians admit that Ney was 
the hero of the day. 

The struggle was terrific. The Russians " fought like 
devils." For a long time the scales seemed to be evenly bal- 
anced. At last Ney, after incredible exertions, his men fall- 
ing thick and fast around him at every step, marched straight 
upon the key of the Russian position, and took it. Koutousoff 
now fought, not for victory, but for life. Murat's cavalry 
had been previously driven back upon Ney's troops in utter 
confusion, and but for Ney's prompt assistance Murat and the 
greater part of his force would have been captured or de- 
stroyed. Ney, with Davout and Murat, sent an urgent re- 
quest to Napoleon for reinforcements to complete the victory, 
but Bonaparte refused to send them. He had lost, or ap- 
peared to have lost, his accustomed decision and vigor. He 
was moody, spiritless, and dejected. " He was seized," says 
Segur, " with a hesitation which he had never shown before. 
He gave orders and counter orders. Daru, as well as his 
other officers, asserted that his genius could no longer accom- 
modate itself to circumstances." They were right. Again 
and again did Ney, Davout, and others ask for reinforce- 
ments. Ney had swept away Bagration's corps, and Davout 
and Murat, seconded by Ney, had been successful at other 
points ; and it really seemed that they needed but the guard 
to make the victory decisive. " Let the Emperor send us 
the Young Guard," said they, " and we will finish the 

But Bonaparte was unyielding. " The hour of this bat- 
tle," said he, " is not yet come. Nothing is yet sufficiently 


determined. I must see more clearly upon my chessboard 
before I bring my reserves into play." 

" Meanwhile, Napoleon," says Segur, " remained at a great 
distance from the battle, of which he could scarcely see any- 
thing after it got beyond the heights,* nerveless, crestfallen, 
and apparently indifferent to the result. ' ' 

Ney at last lost all patience with the Emperor. " Are we, 
then," said he, " come so far to be satisfied only with a field 
of battle ? What business has the Emperor in the rear of the 
army ? There he is only within reach of reverses, and not of 
victory. Since he will no longer make war himself, since he 
is no longer the general, and wishes to be the Emperor every- 
where, let him return to the Tuileries, and leave us to be gen- 
erals for him. " 

But Napoleon would under no circumstances part with his 
guard. It was his only stay and hope. There were many 
leagues between him and France, and many things might hap- 
pen before he could get back. To Belliard and Darn, who 
urged him at the last moment to send forward the guard, he 
said : " And if there should be another battle to-morrow, 
where will be my army to fight it ?" The victory at Boro- 
dino was dearly bought, and almost barren of practical results. 
The carnage in both armies was simply frightful. Ney ear- 
nestly advised a retreat, but Napoleon had no prudence, and 
his everlasting star led him on to his ruin. He had already 
committed fearful blunders, and he kept on committing them. 

* Count Mathieu Dumas seems to contradict Segur in some particulars. 
He says : " During the whole of this day I was near the Emperor, leaving 
him only at intervals to visit the most advanced ambulances, etc. . . . 
The Emperor remained motionless, generally seated on the edge of a ditch, 
and sometimes walking a few paces to the right or the left. His apparent 
indifference has excited astonishment. Napoleon had undergone exces- 
sive fatigue during the two preceding nights, and he certainly appeared 
to be indisposed. He placed himself at a short distance from his right 
wing. The station which he had chosen was the best point of observa- 
tion. It commanded a view of the whole field of battle, and if any 
manoeuvre, any partial success of the enemy had required new measures, 
the vigilance of Napoleon would not have failed to meet the emergency of 
the case." " Memoirs." 


He thought he knew all about the Russian character, and he 
knew nothing about it. Moscow was his grave. 

When the retreat began, Davout was appointed to com- 
mand the rear-guard ; but he was unfit for the position, and 
at Viazma he was superseded by Ney. The history of the 
Russian retreat, as conducted by Ney, has never been written. 
It is impossible to write it. No pen is adequate to the task. 
Each day of the forty days had in it enough immortality for a 
dozen men. There is nothing like it in all history ; there is 
nothing even approximating it. At first Davout and Eugene 
were expected to support Ney, but Ney, in fact, had to sup- 
port them. Indeed, he saved them from total destruction 
Eugene twice. Ney was literally forsaken. Every one fled 
for his life Napoleon in the van. But Ney was a hero of 
heroes. There he was, with a few thousand soldiers, sur- 
rounded by deadly foes of every kind. His front, flank and 
rear were swarming with vengeful Russians. Hunger, cold, 
disease, fatigue, exhaustion, disorder, lawlessness, despair, 
madness foes worse than Russians attacked him pitilessly at 
every step. But Ney was equal to the occasion. He rose 
above the occasion. He became the occasion itself. The re- 
treat was NEY. 

Between Yiazma and Smolensko he fought ten whole days 
with a skill and heroism that nothing could surpass. " Ney," 
says Segur, " saw that a sacrifice was required, and that he 
was marked out as the victim ; he nobly resigned himself, 
therefore, prepared to meet the whole of a danger great as 
his courage ; and thenceforward he neither attached his honor 
to baggage nor to cannon, which the winter alone wrested from 
him. An elbow of the Borysthenes stopped and kept back 
part of his guns at the foot of its icy slopes ; he sacrificed 
them without hesitation, passed that obstacle, faced about, and 
made the hostile river, which crossed his route, serve him as 
the means of defence. 

u The Russians, however, advanced under favor of a wood 
and of our forsaken carriages, whence they kept up a fire of 
musketry on Ney's troops. Half of the latter, whose icy 
arms froze their stiffened fingers, became discouraged ; they 


gave way, excusing themselves by their want of firmness on 
the preceding day, and fleeing because they had fled before, 
which but for this they would have considered as impossible. 
But Ney, rushing in among them, seized one of their muskets 
and led them back to action, which he was himself the 
first to renew, exposing his life like a private soldier with a 
firelock in his hand, the same as though he had been neither 
possessed of wealth nor power nor consideration in short, 
as if he had still everything to gain, when, in fact, he had 
everything to lose. But, though "he had again turned soldier, 
he ceased not to be general ; he took advantage of the ground, 
supported himself against a height, and covered his approach 
by occupying a palisaded house. His general and colonels, 
among whom he particularly remarked Fezensac, strenuously 
seconded him ; and the enemy, who had expected to pursue, 
was obliged to retreat. By this action Ney afforded the army 
a respite of twenty-four hours, and it profited by it to proceed 
toward Smolensko. The next day and every succeeding day 
he displayed the same heroism. " 

Just before Key reached Smolensko, and as he had faced 
about to give battle to the Russians, he suddenly saw upon his 
left a large body of disbanded men rushing wildly upon his 
own troops, as if they intended to attack them. They were 
Eugene's soldiers, who had become utterly demoralized. 
They were closely followed by the howling Cossacks. Ney 
was at first astonished, but quickly taking in the situation, he 
rapidly made his dispositions to meet this threefold danger 
the enemy attacking him in the rear, Eugene's crazy corps, 
and the Cossacks in hot pursuit of them. By exertions almost 
superhuman he finally succeeded (ably assisted by Fezensac) 
in arresting the progress of these formidable armies, and then 
taking Eugene under his wing, marched triumphantly away. 

Key's difficulties, almost insuperable before, were still 
greater after he left Smolensko. His resources of every kind 
were rapidly disappearing, and there was no way to replenish 
them. His little army was thinning out at every step by 
cold, disease, famine, and the sword, while his enemies were 
multiplying like locusts in all directions. Napoleon, with the 


residue of the army, was, if possible, fleeing faster than be- 
fore, and the line of retreat was almost blocked up by the 
deep and deepening snow, by fallen trees and treacherous 
morasses, excavations, hollows, ravines, etc., into which the 
soldiers were continually plunging, many of them to rise no 
more ; by dead and dying men, women, and horses, even chil- 
dren ; abandoned baggage,* cannon, caissons, carts, wagons 
and carriages laden with the spoils of Moscow : every form of 
danger, suffering, and death seemed to confront the deserted 
but undaunted leader, f 

* " The Emperor was desirous to march leisurely in order to preserve 
the baggage. In vain Marshal Ney wrote to him that there was no time 
to be lost ; that the enemy pressed the rear-guard closer and closer ; that 
the Russian army was gaining on our flanks by forced marches ; and that 
there was reason to apprehend it would succeed in reaching Smolensko or 
Orcha before us." Fezensac's " Russian Campaign." 

f " The Third Corps [Ney's], which arrived last at Smolensko, and who 
were still engaged in defending the approaches to the town, were alto- 
gether forgotten by those whom they had protected. Our army had 
already taken the route of Orcha, and Marshal Ney, now left to his own 
resources, made his dispositions for defending Smolensko to the utmost, 
and thus check the pursuit of the enemy. ... Our situation now became 
critical. It was necessary at all hazards to repel an attack which, if suc- 
cessful, would render the enemy master of the tete du pont ; but finding 
myself unsupported in the suburb, I dared not engage my regiment fur- 
ther after I had received the order to retire. Luckily Marshal Ney, whom 
the sound of firing always drew to the scene of action, appeared on the 
parapet and ordered me to advance against the enemy, drive him out of 
the suburb, and thus afford time for clearing the passage. I led my men 
on at the double march through snow and over the ruins of houses. They 
felt proud of engaging the enemy under the eyes of the marshal and their 
comrades of the First Division, who were looking on from the ramparts, 
and charged with the greatest ardor. The Russians retired with precipi- 
tation ; they carried off their artillery, but their skirmishers were dislodged 
from their houses, and in a few moments we were masters of the whole 
suburb. Marshal Ney sent me orders not to advance too far a very rare 
recommendation on his part. . . . The same evening I received from 
Marshal Ney the most flattering testimonials of his satisfaction at our con- 
duct on the preceding day (15th). I communicated them to my officers, 
and exhorted them to prove themselves worthy of them. Only five hun- 
dred rank and file of the Fourth Regiment still remained ; and what had 
not this small remnant gone through ? How much interest and confidence 
were not these brave men calculated to inspire, who, under such severe 
trials, had continued faithful to their colors, and whose courage had only 


As Ney approached the banks of the Losmina, near Kras- 
noi, on the 18th, he was astonished to find the Russian com- 
mander, with eighty thousand men, directly in his front. 
Koutousoff had captured Napoleon's papers near Krasnoi, 
and from these he had learned the exact situation of Ney's 
corps, and the deplorable condition to which it had been re- 
duced. Koutousoff now felt that he had Ney completely in 
his power. A Russian officer appeared and summoned Ney 
to surrender. The demand, however, was softened with many 
flattering words. The pill was sugar-coated. " Koutousoff,' ' 
said the messenger, " would not have presumed to make so 
cruel a proposal to so great a general, to a warrior so re- 
nowned, if there had remained a single chance of safety for 
him. But there were eighty thousand Russians before and 
around him, and if he had any doubt of it, Koutousoff would 
permit him to send a person to pass through his ranks and 
count his forces." 

The officer had not finished his honeyed speech " when,'' 
says Segur, " suddenly forty discharges of grape-shot, com- 
ing from the right of his army, and cutting our files to pieces, 
struck him with amazement, and effectually put a stop to what 
he had further intended to say. At the same moment a 
French officer darted forward, seized, and would have at once 
killed him as a traitor, but that Ney checked his fury, angrily 
saying to the Russian, " A Marshal of France never surren- 
ders ; there is no parleying under fire, you are my prisoner." 
The officer was accordingly disarmed and detained as a pris- 
oner ; nor was he released until they reached Kowno, after 
twenty-six days of captivity, sharing all their miseries, at lib- 
erty to escape, but restrained by his parole of honor. 

The enemy's fire meanwhile grew hotter and hotter, and all 
the hills, which but a moment before looked cold and silent, 

increased with their difficulties. I felt proud of the glory they had ac- 
quired." " Memoirs of the Duke of Fezensac." 

" The headquarters of the Imperial Guard and the corps of the Prince 
Viceroy and Marshal Davout proceeded pell-mell, and in the most fright- 
ful disorder, to reach Orcha, on the right bank of the Dnieper." Dumas 5 
" Memoirs of the Revolution, Empire, etc." 


became like so many volcanoes in eruption ; but the courage 
of N~ey was only inflamed by it ; he seemed to be but breath- 
ing his own appropriate element. Alone, and looking to no 
one for support, he supported everybody. He resolved to 
cut his way through this immense host. He made no 
harangue, but marched silently at the head of his troops, 
trusting to example, which in a hero is more eloquent than any 
oratory, and the most conimanding of all orders. They all 
followed him ; attacked, penetrated, and overturned the first 
Russian line ; and, without halting, even precipitating them- 
selves upon the second ; but before they could reach it a volley 
of round and grapeshot poured down upon them. 

In an instant Ney saw all his generals wounded, and the 
greater part of his soldiers killed ; their ranks were empty ; 
their shapeless column wheeled suddenly round, staggered, 
fell back, and drew Ney along with it. He waited until his 
men had once more placed the ravine between them and the 
enemy, that ravine which was now his sole resource, and then 
he halted and rallied them. The Russians dared not pursue 
him. He drew up his four thousand men against eighty thou- 
sand, and returning the fire of the enemy's two hundred can- 
non with his six pieces, made fortune blush at betraying such 
courage. Night soon came to Ney's aid. He had been anx- 
iously waiting for it. He quietly ordered his men to march 
back toward Smolensk. They were struck motionless with 
astonishment. Even his aide-de-camp could not believe his 
ears ; he remained silent, like one who does not comprehend 
what he hears, and stared at his general in utter amazement. 
But the marshal briefly repeating the same order in a still 
more imperative tone, they were no longer at any loss, but all 
recognized in it resolution taken, a resource discovered, that 
self-confidence which inspires others with the same feeling, 
and a spirit which rises superior to its situation, however 
perilous it may be. They instantly obeyed and turned their 
backs on their own army, on the Emperor, and on France. 
Once more they returned into that fatal Russia.* 

* " History of the Russian Campaign." 

Some of Ney's men said afterward : " It as always been a matter of 


" But Marshal Ney's presence," says Fezensac, " was suffi- 
cient to infuse confidence. Without presuming to divine 
what he would or could do, we knew that he would do some- 
thing. His own confidence in himself was equal to his cour- 
age. The greater the danger, the prompter was his deter- 
mination. When he had once taken his line, he was the last 
to entertain a doubt of its success. At such a moment his 
countenance indicated neither indecision nor anxiety. The 
eyes of all were now turned toward him, but no one had yet 
ventured to ask a question. At length, seeing near him an 
officer of his staff, the marshal said in a low voice, ' We are 
in a bad predicament ' (nous ne sommes pas bieri). ' What 
do you propose doing ? ' replied the officer. ' Cross the 
Dnieper. ' 4 In what direction is the road ? ' * We shall as- 
certain that presently. ' ' And suppose the river should not 
be frozen ? ' 'It will be soon. ' ' Oh, very good ' (d la 'bonne 
heure). This singular dialogue, which I relate word for word, 
disclosed to us the project of the marshal to reach Orcha by 
the right bank of the river, and to move with sufficient ra- 
pidity to enable us to overtake in that place the French army,, 
now marching by the left bank. The plan was bold, and ably 
conceived ; we shall see with what vigor it was executed. 
Marshal Key, endowed with that military instinct of turning 
to account the most trifling circumstances, remarked that there 
was ice in the direction we were following, and ordered it ta 
be broken, in the supposition that it might incase some rivulet 
leading to the Dnieper.* This really proved to be the case. 
We followed it and soon arrived at the village of Danikowa, 

astonishment to us that we should have obeyed the marshal when he 
ordered us to go back into that earthly hell. The truth is, we couldn't 
help obeying him. We were completely in his power. He had bewitched 
us, and we had no wills of our own. We followed him as a dog would 
follow his master." 

* Key halted on the edge of a ravine. His men looked at him mechani- 
cally. " What next ?" thought they. " Clear away the snow," said the 
marshal. " Now break the ice." At the bottom was found a small stream 
flowing to the west. Ney looked at his map behind a deep snow bank. 
" This Jjrtajlf. said he, " flows into the Dnieper. Follow me, and we 
shall sCm be 

(From Meyer's Collection of Portraits of the Grand Officers of the Legion of Honor.) 


where the marshal allowed it to be supposed he was about to 
take up his quarters for the night. The fires were lighted, 
and advanced posts were placed. The enemy left us quiet, 
flattering himself with the expectation of an easy victory 

Shortly afterward the noise of the enemy's cannon was 
heard. Ney at first thought it might be the cannon of Mar- 
shal Davout. " Has Davout at last recollected me I" he 
exclaimed ; but he was soon convinced that it was Russian 
cannon, that the enemy were triumphing over him in advance, 
thinking he would be an easy prey the next morning. " I 
will give the lie to their joy, ' ' he said, and under cover of the 
stratagem which he had employed to deceive the enemy (the 
lighting of fires, placing of advanced posts, etc.), he quietly 
resumed his march, leaving the enemy to think that he was 
still at Danikowa. 

A lame peasant, whom the marshal's scouts found not far 
from the line of march, was made to do duty as a guide. He 
informed them that the Dnieper was only about three miles 
distant, that it was too deep for fording, and that he was cer- 
tain it was not frozen over. Ney cut him short with, " It 
must be frozen." Some one remarked that it was warmer 
now than it had been, and that a thaw had just commenced. 
" It makes no difference," replied Ney, " we must pass, there 
is no other resource left us." 

When the river was reached, it was found that it was frozen 
over only in one place, at a sudden bend of the stream, and 
that it was just strong enough for the troops to pass over in 
single file. " But," says Segur, u in this silent, nocturnal 
march across the fields of a column composed of exhausted 
and wounded men, and of women and children, they had been 
unable to keep sufficiently close to prevent them from losing 
each other in the dark. Ney perceived that only a part of 
his people had come up ; still he might at once have secured 
the safety of those who were there, and waited on the other 
side for the rest. The idea, however, never entered his mind, 

* " Memoirs of the Due de Fezeasac." 


and when some one at length proposed it to him, he rejected 
it instantly. He allowed three hours for the rallying ; and, 
without suffering himself to be agitated by the least im- 
patience, or by the danger of waiting so long, he wrapped 
himself up in his cloak, and passed these three perilous hours 
in a profound sleep on the bank of the river. So fully did he 
possess the temperament and character of great men, a strong 
mind in a sound and robust body." 

Toward midnight the passage began. Most of the troops 
passed over, though with considerable difficulty, as the ice 
cracked and bent beneath them at almost every step. A few 
of the horses only were enabled to cross, and the baggage was 
entirely abandoned. At last several wagons loaded with the 
sick and wounded and with women and children attempted to 
pass. About midway the river the ice broke and gave way. 
The shrieks and cries for help were perfectly awful, and could 
be heard for miles around. These were succeeded by heavy, 
stifled moans then silence. Those who were present say 
these heart-rending screams sounded in their ears for days and 
days afterward. 

" Ney," says Home,* " fixed his appalled looks on the dis- 
mal gulf, and thought he distinguished through the darkness 
a living man. It was a wounded officer named Briqueville, 
who had escaped on a large flat of ice, and was approaching 
the bank on his hands and knees." Ney reached down from 
the bank and pulled him ashore. 

After crossing the Dnieper the Cossacks appeared in in- 
creasing numbers, and these were superior in quality and dis- 
cipline and general efficiency to those whom Ney had encoun- 
tered on the left bank of the Dnieper. PlatofE himself led 
them on. They attacked Ney almost without intermission, 
both by day and night, but he, profiting by the least accidents 
of ground and by every circumstance that could give him the 
slightest advantage, kept his enemies at bay by his bold coun- 
tenance, his unconquerable spirit, and by the energy and hope 
which he infused into those around him. At one time the 

*" Life of Napoleon." 


Cossacks placed themselves immediately in his front and at- 
tacked him with such numbers and such spirit that escape 
seemed absolutely impossible, but Ney rushed forward as if 
he had planned the attack, exclaiming, " Comrades, now is 
your time, forward ! We have them." 

" At these words" (Segur) " his soldiers, who but a mo- 
ment before had been in the utmost consternation, now be- 
lieved they were about to surprise their foes ; from being van- 
quished they rose up conquerors ; they rushed upon the 
enemy, who fled with the utmost precipitation." 

Fezensac's account of these movements is most interesting. 
But for his presence of mind, good judgment, and tireless 
efforts, General D'Henin's Brigade, in which he served, 
would have been cut off and destroyed. He says : 

" We continued to move at the same steady pace, amid a 
storm of bullets which continually thinned our ranks, and 
heedless of the cries and threatening movements of the Cos- 
sacks. It became necessary to quit the main road, and to 
thread our way through the woods which followed the course 
of the Dnieper on our left. The Cossacks had already pos- 
sessed themselves of these, and the Fourth and Eighteenth 
regiments were ordered, under General D'Henin, to drive 
them out. Here Platoff had calculated on completing our 
destruction. I entered the woods, and the Cossacks retreated 
a short distance. The thickness of the woods was such that 
to guard against surprise we were obliged to show a front in 
every direction. As the night advanced silence succeeded 
around us, and we deemed it more than probable that Marshal 
Ney had continued his march. I recommended General 
D'Henin to follow the marshal's movement, but he was un- 
willing to encounter again the reproaches he had before been 
subject to for quitting his post without orders. We were on 
the point of being cut off. I knew this by the loud cries in 
front of us. I renewed my entreaties to General D'Plenin, 
assuring him that the marshal, whose habits I was well ac- 
quainted with, was not likely to send him any order ; for he 
always expected that an officer in command would act as cir- 
cumstances might require. Besides, he was now too distant 


to be able to communicate with us, and the Eighteenth Regi- 
ment had by this time proceeded some distance. The general 
persisted in his refusal, and I could only obtain his consent to 
lead us to the spot where the Eighteenth was supposed to be, 
in order that the two regiments might form a junction ; but 
the Eighteenth had marched, and in its place we found a 
squadron of Cossacks. General D'Henin was at last con- 
vinced of the justice of my observations, and was now anxious 
to rejoin Marshal ISTey's column ; but we had traversed the 
wood in so many directions that we were no longer sure of 
our road, and the fires which we saw lit on different sides 
only served to distract us more. I will not undertake to de- 
scribe all that we suffered on that most trying night. I had 
not more than one hundred men with me, and we found our- 
selves upward of a league in rear of the column of which we 
should have formed a part ; we had to rejoin it surrounded 
on every side by enemies ; we had to march with sufficient 
rapidity to recover our lost time, and with sufficient compact- 
ness to resist the attacks of the Cossacks. The darkness of 
the night, the uncertainty of our direction, the difficulties 
under such circumstances attending a march through woods, 
all added to our embarrassments. The Cossacks were con- 
tinually firing into the midst of us and calling upon us to sur- 
render. I had need of all my authority to maintain order on 
the march, and to keep every one in his place. One of my 
officers dared hint at a surrender. I reprimanded him loudly, 
and the more severely, that having shown himself hitherto a 
meritorious officer, I was desirous of rendering my reprimand 
more marked. At last, at the expiration of an hour, we got 
quit of the woods, and found the Dnieper on our left. The 
direction we had taken was therefore right, and I profited by 
the fresh spirit which the discovery infused to recommend the 
perseverance, courage, and coolness which would alone save 
us ; but we were yet by no means extricated from our perilous 
position. The plain in which we marched favored an attack 
by the enemy in mass, and enabled him to avail himself of his 
artillery. From time to time the Cossacks advanced toward 
us with loud cries. On these occasions we halted a minute to 


give our fire, and immediately resumed our march. For two 
leagues we traversed the most impracticable ground, crossed 
ravines whose sides we ascended with the utmost difficulty, 
and waded through streams the half -frozen waters of which 
reached to the knee ; but nothing could daunt the persever- 
ance of our soldiers ; the greatest order was maintained, and 
not a man quitted the ranks. The enemy at length relaxed 
in his pursuit, and the fires which we descried on the heights 
in front of us proved to be those of Marshal Ney's rear-guard. 
They had halted, and were now preparing to resume their 
march. We joined them, and learned that the marshal had 
on the preceding evening marched direct on the enemy's artil- 
lery, and forced a passage through them.* 

" The road we followed led over an extensive plain, and 
Platoff, profiting by the ground, directed his field-pieces, 
mounted on sledges, to advance against us ; and when this 
artillery, which we could neither get at nor avoid, had carried 
disorder into our ranks, he ordered a charge by his whole 
body. Marshal Ney formed each of his two divisions rapidly 
into square. We obliged by main force every straggler who 
still carried a musket to fall into the ranks. At the approach 
of the enemy, and galled by the fire of his artillery, the 
soldiers began to hasten their march ; but the presence of 
Marshal Ney, the confidence which he inspired, the calmness 
of his attitude in the moment of danger, still retained them 
in their duty. We had reached a height which the marshal 
ordered General D'Henin to maintain, and there die, if nec- 
essary, for the honor of France. General Ledru marched on 
the village of Teolino. When he had occupied it, we pro- 
ceeded to join him, and the two divisions took up a position 
and afforded each other a mutual flank protection. It was 
not yet noon, and Marshal Ney declared he would defend the 
village until nine in the evening. Twenty times did General 
Playoff endeavor to wrest it from us ; twenty times was he 
repulsed, until, tired out with such opposition, he ended with 

* How warmly Marshal Ney must have welcomed such a man as 
Fezensac. I quote largely from Fezensac's " Memoirs" for reasons which 
will appear in another part of this work. 


establishing himself in our front. The marshal had in the 
morning sent a Polish officer (Pchebendowski, with fifty horse- 
men) to give intelligence of our proceedings (and to ask for 
assistance). At a league from Orcha our advanced guard 
challenged an outpost, and was answered in French. It was 
a division of the Fourth Corps, which with the Viceroy 
(Eugene) was on the march to our assistance. The Yiceroy 
was deeply affected, and loudly proclaimed his admiration of 
Marshal Key's conduct.* He congratulated the generals and 
the two colonels who survived, Colonel Pelleport, of the 
Eighteenth, and myself. His aides-de-camp overwhelmed us 
with questions on the details, and the respective parts each 
had played in such eventful scenes. Thus ended this bold 
and adventurous march, one of the most extraordinary episodes 
in the campaign. It covered Marshal Ney with glory, "f 

When Napoleon heard of Marshal Key's safety he was sit- 
ting at the breakfast-table with some of his officers. He fairly 
leaped from his chair, and exclaimed in transports of joy, " I 
have saved my eagles, then. 1 have three hundred millions 
in my coffers at the Tuileries. I would willingly have given 
them all to save Marshal Key." 

" Well he might," says Headley, "and half his empire 
with it, for without him he had been a throneless Emperor. 
As his eyes fell on the worn yet still proud, unconquerable 

* " Eugene and Ney threw themselves into each other's arms. Eugene 
wept. He was delighted, melted, and elevated at the sight of the chival- 
rous hero whom he had just had the happiness* to succor. Ney, still 
heated from the combat, irritated at the dangers which the honor of the 
army had run in his person, severely blamed Davout, whom he wrong- 
fully" (rightfully) " accused of deserting him. Some hours afterward, 
when Davout sought to justify himself, he could draw nothing from Ney 
but a severe look and these words : ' Monsieur le Marechal, I have no re- 
proaches to make to you ; God is our witness and your judge.' " 

" Ney, though performing his duty with a sublime devotion, retained a 
strong feeling of indignation at the treatment he had received in being 
deserted, especially by Davout. When that marshal left him on the 
16th, and sent to warn him of his danger, Ney replied : ' All the Cossacks 
in the universe shall not prevent me from executing my instructions.' " 
Gris wold's " Napoleon and his Marshals." 

\ " Souvenirs Militaires," par M. Le Due de Fezensac. 


veteran, lie exclaimed, ' What a man ! What a soldier ! ' 
But words failed to express his admiration, and he clasped 
the stern warrior to his bosom, and embraced him with all 
the rapture one hero embraces another. ' ' 

At Krasnoi, at Liadi, at Dombrowno, at Orcha, and all 
along the route Napoleon's thoughts had turned to Ney as his 
only hope. Every few moments he was heard to murmur 
with unconcealed agitation, " And Ney ! And Ney !" In- 
deed, the whole army felt that Ney alone stood between them 
and destruction. To Rapp and others Napoleon said, " Ney 
has a thoroughly tempered soul. How true, how accurate his 
coup cPceil ! How admirable his military qualities ! What a 
man he is ! I have few men about me who have any real 
energy, firmness, or moral force. How badly am I served ! 
To whom have 1 trusted myself ? Poor Ney ; with whom 
have I matched thee ?" * 

Later, near Orcha, when Napoleon clasped Ney in his arms, 
he said to those around him, " Better an army of deer com- 
manded by a lion, than an army of lions commanded by a 
deer." And yet Napoleon had the meanness to say at St. 
Helena : " Marshal Ney was the bravest of men ; there ter- 
minated all his faculties. " No bigger falsehood could have 
been conceived by the brain of man, and Napoleon knew it. 
He flatly contradicts himself. Even Headley, who worships 
Napoleon, if any man ever did worship another, quotes this 
St. Helena statement only to condemn it as unqualifiedly 
false. Headley says : 

" The whole history of Bonaparte's career, the confidence 
he everywhere reposed in Ney's skill as well as bravery, pro- 
nounce this declaration false ; while the manner in which he 
managed the rear-guard in that unparalleled retreat of the 
grand army from Russia, shows the injustice of the declaration 
in every way. Something more than bravery was needed to 
cover the French there, and Bonaparte knew it. He never 
placed Ney at the head of the army in invading Russia, and 
in the rear when retreating from it, simply because he was a 

* " Memoirs of General Rapp." 


brave man. His actions and statements here contradict each 
other. Bonaparte was the last man to estimate the character 
of his own officers. He rated all military leaders low but 
himself. There was not a commander among either the 
French or the allied forces that ever did or ever could accom- 
plish what Ney performed in that memorable flight. Had he 
fallen, Bonaparte would probably have fallen also ; and Ney 
really saved the army, which Bonaparte never could have 

These observations of Headley are eminently just, and such 
will be the verdict of posterity. Ney continued to command 
the rear-guard. Bonaparte dared not release him from this 
post of danger and honor. There was no one to take his 

" And he had been too much regretted," says Segur, " and 
his preservation had excited emotions far too grateful, to allow 
of any feelings of envy ; besides, Ney had placed himself com- 
pletely beyond its reach. As for himself, he had in all this 
heroism gone so little beyond his natural character that, had 
it not been for the eclat of his glory in the eyes, the gestures, 
and the acclamations of every one, he would never have im- 
agined that he had performed an extraordinary action." 

At the terrible passage of the Beresina, Key again saved the 
army from destruction.* And it was almost a miracle that 
he did save it. The army was fearfully encumbered with 
superfluous baggage and plunder of every kind. " Burn it 
all up," bluntly said Ney. " No," replied Berthier, "it 
can be saved. " Napoleon, strange to say, agreed with Ber- 
thier. The result was all the baggage, private carriages, 
trophies of Moscow, etc., were lost, and thirty-six thousand 
persons found their graves at the bottom of the Beresina. It 
is impossible to account for the Emperor's illusions. General 
Eble, an engineer officer of great skill and judgment, told 
Napoleon that six days would scarcely be sufficient for so many 
carriages and so much baggage, plunder, etc., to pass over. 

* " This illustrious soldier, who had saved the Third Corps at Krasnoi, 
now saved on the banks of the Beresina the whole army, and the Emperor 
himself." " Memoirs of the Due de Fezensac." 


u Ney," says Segur, u immediately called out that they had 
better be burned immediately ; but Berthier, instigated by the 
demon of courts, opposed this ; he assured his sovereign that 
the army was far from being reduced to that extremity, and 
the Emperor was led to believe him." 

On December 5th, at Smorgoni, Napoleon quitted the army, 
and set out immediately for Paris. " Why, " said he to Daru, 
" should I remain at the head of a routed army ? Murat and 
Eugene will be sufficient to direct it, and Ney to cover the 
retreat. I will soon return with fresh forces to the assistance 
of the grand army. I have no time to lose, and must leave 
at once." After Napoleon left Ney was practically the com- 
mander of the army. He was the only one whose orders were 
obeyed, and who maintained any discipline among his troops. 
Murat, whom Napoleon in his blindness appointed command- 
er-in-chief, was utterly inefficient. !No one paid any atten- 
tion to his orders, and he fled disgracefully from his post. 
The whole army leaned upon Ney as their rock of salvation. 

" Murat," says Griswold, " fled in consternation; he was 
seen forcing his way through the crowd from his palace and 
from Wilna, without giving any orders, but leaving every- 
thing in the hands of Ney." But Ney's spirit was unbroken 
and unbent, and, like a god, he bore the burden that was put 
upon him. Rear-guard after rear-guard melted away before 
him, but as fast as one disappeared he would form another, 
each one smaller than the preceding, until it was finally re- 
duced to sixty men ; but he saved the army and the Empire. 
Nothing could conquer him. He grew stronger instead of 
weaker. At Kowno he rose to the highest pitch of soldierly 
greatness. Fezensac says : 

" We were now ordered to defend Kowno. It was the last 
proof of courage and devotion we were called upon to offer. 
We expected to be buried beneath its ruins. To the credit 
of officers and soldiers let it be added, that the order was 
obeyed without a murmur, and that not a man quitted his 
post in so critical a juncture.* As regarded myself, I beheld 

* This does not agree with the accounts of Segur, Scott, and others, but 
Fezensac was there, and his word cannot be doubted. 


with admiration the heroic perseverance of Marshal Ney, and 
congratulated myself on being called on to second his last 
efforts. We again took possession of our quarters. . . . 
Marshal Ney still prolonged his defence of Kowno, not only 
to give time to all those unfortunate people" (stragglers, dis- 
banded men, etc.) " to get clear of the pursuit of the enemy, 
but to cover the retreat of the King of Naples, who had on 
the evening before taken the road to Konigsberg by Gum- 
binnen. Two pieces of cannon, supported by some companies 
of Bavarian infantry, were disposed on the ramparts, and this 
small number were now prepared to receive the enemy's at- 
tack. Marshal Ney, having made his dispositions, retired to 
his quarters to seek some rest. He had scarcely quitted us 
when firing commenced. The first discharge of the Russian 
artillery dismounted one of our guns ; the infantry took to 
flight, and the artillery prepared to follow. There was noth- 
ing to prevent the Cossacks from entering the city, when the 
marshal suddenly appeared on the ramparts. We had been 
well-nigh ruined by his absence ; his presence was sufficient 
to retrieve all. He took a musket in his hand, and the troops 
returned to their post, renewed the combat, and sustained it 
till nightfall, when the retreat was continued. We crossed the 
Niemen, and imagined that we were safe, but the Cossacks 
had preceded us and gotten in our front ; they had placed 
their artillery in position on the heights before us, and had 
thus closed the road. This last and sudden attack, as the 
most unexpected, was that which exercised the greatest effect 
on the soldiers' minds. It was useless to attempt a passage 
by force. Our firelocks had become unserviceable, and those 
who carried them refused to advance. Despair seized every 
heart, and our destruction appeared certain. It was now that 
Marshal Ney again made his appearance among us. Without 
evincing the slightest uneasiness at our desperate condition, 
his prompt decision in the field saved us once more the pre- 
server to the last of all that was left to preserve." 

Segur says : " At Kowno, as it had been after the disasters 
of Wiasma, of Smolensko, of the Beresina, and of Wilna, it 
was to Ney that the honor of our arms and all the peril of the 


last steps of our retreat were again confided. When some of 
his soldiers left him, he collected their muskets, became a 
common soldier, and with only four others kept facing thou- 
sands of the enemy, constantly fighting, retreating, but never 
flying, marching after all the others, supporting to the last 
moment the honor of our arms, and for the hundredth time 
during the last forty days and forty nights putting his life 
and liberty in jeopardy to save a few more Frenchmen. 
Finally, he was the last of the grand army that quitted that 
fatal Russia, exhibiting to the world the impotence of for- 
tune against unconquerable courage, and proving that with 
heroes everything turns to glory, even the greatest dis- 
asters. ' ' 

" At length" (General Count Dumas) '" we were out of 
that accursed country, the Russian territory. The Cossacks 
no longer pursued us with the same ardor. In proportion as 
we advanced into the Prussian territory we found better quar- 
ters and more resources. The first place at which we were 
able to take breath was Wilkowiszki, and the next Gumbinnen, 
when I put up at the house of a physician, which I had occu- 
pied when 1 passed through the town before. Some excellent 
coffee had just been brought us for breakfast, when a man in 
a great brown coat entered ; he had a long beard, his face was 
blackened, and looked as if it were burnt ; his eyes were red 
and brilliant. ' At length I am here, ' said he. ' Why, Gen- 
eral Dumas, don't you know me ? ' * No ; who are you, 
then ? ' * 1 am the rear-guard of the grand army. I have 
fired the last musket-shot on the bridge of Kowno. I have 
thrown into the Niemen the last of our arms, and have come 
hither through the woods. I am Marshal Ney. ' I leave you 
to imagine with what respectful eagerness we welcomed the 
hero of the Russian retreat." 

And yet Napoleon says Marshal Ney was a brave man, and 
nothing more. Could any slander be more heartless, more 
impudent, more shameless ? Life is too short to discuss such 
a question. 

Ney continued faithful to Napoleon. At the battle of 
Lutzen (May 2d, 1813) he was foremost and chiefest in the 


fight. In fact, his persistent and powerful attacks in the cen- 
tre at Kay a alone gave Napoleon the victory. He commanded 
the Fourth and the Seventh corps, composed chiefly of con- 
scripts, but these young soldiers fought like veterans. Indeed, 
Ney said they were better than the old soldiers.* Ney had 
moulded them to his hand, for they had been under his charge 
for the past four months. 

Napoleon was surprised at Lutzen, but Ney, by his prompt- 
ness, quickness, energy, and perseverance saved him from a 
terrible defeat. Napoleon was trying to outflank his enemies, 
and his enemies surprised him, and came very near ruining 
him. They attacked with the utmost violence arid determina- 
tion Napoleon's centre at Kaya, and if Ney had not stemmed 
the torrent, as no other man perhaps could have stemmed it, 
the grand army would have been annihilated. At the battle 
of Bautzen, Napoleon's combinations were all but faultless, 
and his victory correspondingly great. Here, as at Lutzen, 
Ney rendered the most important service. On the evening 
of May 20th, Ney, with sixty thousand men, crossed the river 
Spree at Klix, and early the next morning fell upon the flank 
of the allied army as Napoleon attacked it in front. It was a 
difficult and perilous operation, but Ney exhibited great pru- 
dence and skill, and routed the enemy at every point. This 
was one of Napoleon's greatest victories, the importance of 
which could hardly be overestimated, and to Ney certainly 
was due no inconsiderable share of the glory. He had practi- 
cally an independent command, was entirely separated from 
Napoleon, and compelled to rely upon his own judgment on 
a " vast, complicated, and unknown field." Yet all his dis- 
positions were made with exemplary coolness and prudence, 
and he gained one of the finest victories of his life. 

Still Jornini, a pure cobweb general, says Ney's victory 

* Ney's conscripts were first brought into action at Weissenfels, April 
29th. In the marshal's hands they exhibited the valor and steadiness of 
old soldiers. They repulsed the repeated assaults of the enemy with great 
spirit and even gayety, Thiers says " with imperturbable good humor." 
Ney was charmed with his conscripts, and praised them to the Emperor in 
the most enthusiastic manner. 



would have been still greater if he had followed his advice. 
Heaven save us ! 

Napoleon was also surprised at Dresden. While he was 
hotly pursuing Bliicher, who eluded him constantly, purposely 
drawing Napoleon away from his base, Schwarzenberg, with 
the main body of the allied army, suddenly advanced upon 
Dresden. This city, which Napoleon had carefully fortified 
during the armistice of Pleiswitz, was defended by Marshal 
St. Cyr with about twenty thousand men. The allies num- 
bered about one hundred and fifty thousarfd men. They 
reached Dresden on the morning of August 25th, and if they 
had attacked St. Cyr at once, or at any time during the day, 
or before twelve o'clock at night, they would undoubtedly 
have overwhelmed him and destroyed Napoleon's lines of 
communication with France ; but they foolishly delayed the 
attack until four o'clock the next morning. In a few hours 
they had swept everything before them, and St. Cyr was 
about to surrender, when Napoleon was seen advancing rap- 
idly to his relief. 

Napoleon had no idea that Dresden would be attacked, and 
he was astonished when information was brought him that 
Schwarzenberg in large force had appeared before the heights 
of that city. He repaired thither with all haste, and arrived 
just in time to save St. Cyr from an unconditional surrender. 
Had the allies attacked the day before, as they ought to have 
done, Napoleon would have been utterly ruined. No one 
can deny this. Napoleon in turn assumed the offensive, and 
gained a decisive victory. Ney and Murat were the chief 
actors in this struggle. They fought with courage and skill 
under the most disadvantangeous circumstances, and were 
everywhere victorious. Here Moreau was killed. 

At Dennewitz (September 6th) Ney was defeated by the 
Crown Prince of Sweden. He lost in killed, wounded, pris- 
oners, and deserters more than fifteen thousand men, and 
about twenty-five pieces of cannon. This defeat is to be 
attributed to three causes : First, the bad conduct of Ney's 
chief officers ; second, the peculiar composition of his troops ; 
and, third, to Napoleon himself. Napoleon had recently suf- 


fered very grave losses. On the 29th and 30th General Van- 
damme, who, after the battle of Dresden, had been sent in 
pursuit of the flying enemy, encountered the Russian General 
Ostermann and others between Kulrn and Toplitz, and was 
utterly defeated. Vandamme's loss was very great six thou- 
sand killed and wounded, eight or ten thousand prisoners, and 
forty-eight guns. Yandamme himself was taken prisoner, 
and his fine corps of thirty thousand men was almost entirely 
dispersed. On the very day that the battle of Dresden was 
fought (26th) Bliicher attacked Marshal Macdonald in the plains 
of the Katzbach, and defeated him with great loss.* Marshal 
Oudinot had fared little better. He met Bernadotte at Gross- 
Beeren on the 23d, and the Crown Prince completely routed 
him, with the loss of several thousand men in killed, wounded, 
and prisoners. General Girard was defeated at Leibnitz on 
the 27th, losing six guns, fifteen hundred men, and all his 

Such disasters, in the light of Napoleon's recent victories at 
Lutzen, Bautzen, and Dresden, were simply appalling, and 
the Emperor endeavored to repair his losses by despatching 
Ney at the head of fifty-two thousand menf to check the 
progress of Bernadotte, and, if possible " to plant his eagles 
on the walls of Berlin.'' JSTey's troops consisted of three 
corps Fourth (Bertrand), Seventh (Regnier), and Twelfth 
(Oudinot). These soldiers were for the most part of an in- 
ferior quality. They consisted chiefly of foreigners, who 
cared little for Napoleon and his empire, and of young, raw 
French conscripts, who had already become tired of the seem- 

* Bliicher issued the following high-sounding address : " Soldiers, Silesia 
is delivered. Your bayonets and the nervous strength of your arm drove 
your enemies down the steeps of the raging Neisse and the Katzbach. 
One hundred and three pieces of cannon, two hundred and fifty tumbrils, 
the camp hospital of the enemy, his provisions, a general of division, two 
generals of brigade, a great number of colonels, staff, and other officers, 
eighteen thousand prisoners, two eagles, and other trophies have fallen 
into your hands. Let us sing praises to the Lord of Hosts, by whose help 
you have overthrown your enemies, and return thanks to Him who has 
given us the victory. ' ' 

f Thiers gives this number. 


ingly endless struggle in which Napoleon was engaged. In- 
deed, the morale of the entire army was seriously impaired by 
the recent defeats. 

Marshal Oudinot was deeply wounded because he was com- 
pelled to serve under Marshal Key. He felt that Napoleon 
was trying to disgrace him in presence of the whole army 
because of his defeat at Gross-Beeren, and he was mad with 
Napoleon, Ney, and everybody else. Regnier was an officer 
of ability, but he was full of conceit, and believed himself 
superior to Oudinot, Ney, and even Napoleon himself. Ber- 
trand was a flat-headed incompetent, who, but for the extreme 
softness and pliability of his character, would never have been 
given an important command of any kind. He did not like 
Ney, though Napoleon was his god. 

The movement which Ney was ordered to execute was one 
of extreme delicacy and difficulty. He himself, generally so 
daring and hopeful, had little confidence in the final result. 
He had to perform a protracted flank movement with demoral- 
ized men and officers, and in the presence of a largely superior 
force commanded by an officer of rare ability (Bernadotte). 
Under such circumstances it was all but impossible for Ney to 
perform the duty assigned him. Still, he would have done 
so but for the mistake, inefficiency, or treachery of Bertrand, * 
and the delay of Oudinot to march to the field of battle, 
owing mainly to Regnier's gross disobedience of orders, but 
partly to Oudinot's own indifference and sulkiness. One of 
these causes alone in so critical and dangerous a manoeuvre 
would have been fatal ; as it was, Ney was simply over- 

* " The troops of the Crown Prince lay to the left, and the marshal's 
object was to avoid any encounter with the enemy, throw himself on the 
road from Torgau to Berlin, and enter into communication with reinforce- 
ments from Dresden ; but it was found necessary to pass by Dennewitz, 
where Tauenstein was stationed, and who might give the alarm to the 
other corps of the enemy. On the morning of the 6th, therefore, Bertrand 
was sent forward to attack Tauenstein and draw off his attention, while 
Ney with the rest of the army pushed rapidly by without being brought 
to action ; but Bertrand having made his appearance too early, notice was 
given to the allied troops in the neighborhood, and before Ney arrived 
they were ready to dispute the passage with him. The engagement con- 
sequently became general." Hazlitt's " Napoleon." 


whelmed. His Saxon troops under Bertrand deserted him, 
and his army was broken and routed. Ney did all that any 
man could have done. Napoleon did not blame him.* He 
no doubt felt that he himself was largely responsible for Key's 
defeat.f Key himself wrote to Napoleon as follows : 

" It is impossible to derive any ad vantage from the Fourth, 
Seventh, and Twelfth corps d'armee in the present state of 
their organization ; each of the generals-in-chief does nearly 
what he judges most for his own safety. Things have come 
to such a pass that it is difficult for me to keep my ground. 
The moral condition of the generals and the other officers is 
singularly shaken, the power of command, therefore, is very 
imperfect, and I had rather be a grenadier. I pray your 
Majesty to deliver me from this hell. I think 1 need not 
speak of my devotion. I am ready to shed all my blood pro- 
vided it be with some profitable results. The presence of the 
Emperor can alone restore order and unity. ' ' 

And, again, on September 23d, he wrote to Napoleon : " It 
is impossible to obtain obedience from General Regnier ; he 
will not execute the orders which he receives. The foreign 
troops of all nations manifest the worst spirit, and it is doubt- 
ful whether the cavalry with me is not more injurious than 

Marshal Macdonald also wrote a similar letter to Napoleon. 
In the important operations preceding the battle of Leipsic, 

* See " Memoirs of Marshal St. Cyr." 

St. Cyr blames Napoleon for Ney's defeat. The Emperor, he says, was 
altogether mistaken as to the character, composition, and number of the 
troops which Ney had to encounter, and the orders which he gave him 
could not be executed. 

" On September 5th Marshal Oudinot had received at Seyda the order to 
leave in the morning with the Twelfth Corps, to direct himself upon 
Oehna, but only after the Seventh Corps (Regnier's) should have passed 
before the Twelfth. Regnier (the italics are mine) having taken another 
way, Oudinot, who expected this passage, did not leave for Seyda till between 
nine and ten in the morning." " Memoirs of Due de Fezensac." 

Key certainly cannot be held responsible for the defeat at Dennewitz. 

fSee Scott's "Napoleon," J. B. Lippincott Co., 1881, p. 600; "Sou- 
venirs Militaires," par M. le Due de Fezensac, Paris, 1863, p. 442, note at 
bottom ; Hazlitt's " Napoleon," vol. iii., p. 175. 


Key's energy, vigilance, and prudence were of the greatest 
benefit to Napoleon. Even Thiers admits this. He out- 
manoeuvred Bernadotte and Bliicher, and at Diiben, "Worlitz 
and Dessau dealt the enemy some vigorous and effective 
blows. Napoleon committed some fearful mistakes at Leip- 
sic, and for several days preceding the battle. They came 
very near ruining him. But for Key's powerful exertions, it 
is difficult to see how Napoleon could have effected his retreat 
from Leipsic. Bernadotte and Bliicher would have crushed 
him, especially on the third day, in this great 4 ' battle of kings. " 

The campaign of 1814, as brief as it was, reflects more 
credit upon Napoleon than any other part of his military 
career.* In my opinion it is far superior to his Italian cam- 
paign. He was warmly seconded by his officers and men, but 
to no one was he so much indebted for his magnificent vic- 
tories as to the " bravest of the brave." Ney must share 
largely in the glory of this campaign. He was peerless at 
Brienne, Montmirail, Craonne, Laon, Etouvelles, Arcis, and 
other places. At Craonne and Laon especially he accom- 
plished with the young, ill-trained conscripts what no other 
officer could have accomplished. But human endurance has 
its limit. "France was exhausted, and Paris surrendered on 
March 31st. 

Ney and the other marshals, seeing that further resistance 
was useless, advised Napoleon, who was then at Fontainebleau, 
to abdicate as the only means of saving France. Some writers 
affirm that Ney's language to Napoleon was very rough and 
unbecoming. Thiers says it was not. So do Napoleon and 
Caulaincourt. Napoleon after much indecision consented to 
abdicate. Ney, Caulaincourt, and Macdonald were appointed 
to negotiate with the allied powers. Ney and Macdonald 
pleaded with soldierly eloquence the cause of Napoleon's son, 
and a regency under the Empress. Ney's speech made a 
deep impression upon the Emperor Alexander, and he was 
about to yield to the wishes of Napoleon's commissioners, 

* Though his movement in rear of the allies on March 21st was an inex- 
cusable blunder. It ruined him. While he was gone the allies took pos- 
session of Paris. 


when General Dessolles and others interfered with rudeness 
and violence, and finally succeeded in turning the Emperor of 
Russia from his good intentions. 

Ney, Caulaincourt, and Macdonald returned with sad hearts 
to Fontainebleau, and on April 6th Napoleon signed an uncon 
ditional abdication. ISTey now made his submission to the 
provisional government, and afterward took the oath of alle- 
giance to Louis XVIII. The king received him with much 
kindness, and loaded him with the highest honors ; but JS"ey 
was not happy. His forced inaction did not suit him. 

" He was too old," says an elegant writer, " to acquire new 
habits. Plain in his manners, and still plainer in his words, 
he neither knew nor wished to know the art of pleasing 
courtiers. The habit of braving death and of commanding 
vast bodies of men had impressed his character with a species 
of moral grandeur which raised him far above the puerile ob- 
servances of the fashionable world. Of good nature, indeed, 
he had a considerable fund, but he showed it not so much by 
the endless little attentions of a gentleman, as by scattered 
acts of princely beneficence. The sobriety of his manners 
was extreme, even to austerity. His wife had been reared in 
the court of Louis XVI., and had adorned that of the Em- 
peror. Cultivated in her mind, accomplished in her manners, 
and elegant in all she said or did, her society was courted 
on all sides. Her habits were expensive ; luxury reigned 
throughout her apartments and presided at her board ; and to 
all this display of elegance and pomp of show, the military 
simplicity of the marshal furnished a striking contrast. His 
good nature offered no other obstacle to the gratification of 
her wishes than the occasional expression of a fear that his 
circumstances might be deranged by them ; but if he would 
not oppose, neither could he join in her extravagance. While 
she was presiding at a numerous and brilliant party of guests, 
he preferred to remain alone in a distant apartment, where 
the festive sounds could not reach him. On such occasions 
he almost always dined alone. Ney seldom appeared at court. 
He could neither bow nor flatter, nor could he stoop to kiss 
even his sovereign's hand without something like self-humilia- 


tion. To his princess, on the other hand, the royal smile was 
necessary as the light of the sun ; and, unfortunately for her, 
she was sometimes disappointed in her efforts to attract it. 
Her wounded vanity often beheld an insult in what was prob- 
ably no more than an inadvertence. She complained to her 
husband, and he with a calm smile advised her never again to 
expose herself to such mortifications if she really sustained 
them ; but though he could thus rebuke a woman's vanity, 
the haughty soldier felt his own wounded through hers. To 
escape these complaints, and from the monotony of his Parisian 
existence, he retired to his country-seat in January, 1815, the 
very season when people of consideration are most engrossed 
by the busy scenes of the metropolis. There he led an un- 
fettered life ; he gave his mornings to field sports, and the 
guests he entertained in the evening were such as, from their 
humble condition, rendered formality useless, and placed him 
completely at his ease." * 

Ney was thus living on his beautiful estate near Chateaudun, 
when, on March 6th, he received an order from the Minister 
of War (Marshal Soult) to join his division (Sixth) at Besan- 
con, and there await further orders. Ney rode immediately 
to Paris and sought and obtained an interview with the king. 
Upon leaving, Ney kissed the king's hand, and, in an " effu- 
sion of loyalty," promised to bring Bonaparte to Paris in an 
iron cage ; but instead of capturing or opposing Napoleon, 
Ney joined him with his entire army, and thus destroyed the 
last hope of Bourbon resistance. 

Up to March 14th Ney protested his loyalty to the king. 
He said Bonaparte's invasion was an act of madness, and that 
it was impossible for him to succeed ; but at Lons-le-Saulnier 
his mind underwent a complete change. During the night of 
the 13th he received letters from General Bertrand, stating 
that Napoleon's success was assured ; that everything had been 
arranged beforehand ; that the Emperor had received the 
secret submission of every regiment in the service ; that he 
was acting in conceit with Austria and England ; that General 

* " Court and Camp of Bonaparte." 


Kohler had come to Elba on the part of Count Metternich ; 
that Napoleon had dined on an English vessel in company 
with several French generals ; that Marshal Soult, the War 
Minister, had promised him his support ; that the Empress 
Marie Louise and her son were already on the way to Paris ; 
that the whole country had risen up to welcome him, and that 
if he persisted in his insane attempt to oppose him, he would 
be responsible for all the horrors of a civil war.* Ney's own 
troops had manifested a bad spirit. They had no heart for 
fighting their old Emperor, and their murmurs and threats 
even were growing deep and loud. The spirit of disaffection 
was spreading everywhere, and Ney felt that he could not 
resist the torrent. "I cannot," said he, "keep back the 
ocean with my hand." 

On the 14th he read a proclamation to his troops (sent to 
him, he said, by Bertrand) announcing that the " cause of the 
Bourbons was forever lost," and that the Emperor Napoleon 
was the legitimate sovereign of France. " Soldiers, " said 
he, " I have often led you to victory ; I am now going to 
conduct you to that immortal phalanx which the Emperor 
Napoleon is conducting to Paris, where it will be in a few 
days, and then our hope and happiness will be forever re- 

The idea of a civil war horrified the marshal, and he felt 
that it would be better to direct the torrent than to be swept 
away by it. " You are babies," said he to those who blamed 
him for his course. ( i I was obliged to choose either one party 
or the other. Could 1 hide like a coward, shunning the re- 
sponsibility of events ? It is necessary to take a decided part 
at once in order to avert civil war, and to get a hold upon the 
man who is about to become again our ruler, and to prevent 
him from committing new follies, for I do not pretend to give 
myself to a man, but to France / and if he should wish to lead 
us again to Moscow, I shall not follow him." 

Ney met the Emperor at Auxerre. Napoleon received him 
very graciously, embraced him, petted him, and called him 

*See"Le Marechal Ney, le Soldat," etc.; "Life of Marshal Key," 
by Welschinger. 


the " bravest of the brave." Ney said to the Emperor that 
he might always rely upon him when the welfare of his coun- 
try was at stake ; that his blood had often flowed for France, 
and for France he was prepared to shed it to the last drop. 
" But times," continued the marshal, " have changed. The 
people are tired of war, and wish only for liberty and peace." 
Napoleon replied that it was patriotism alone which had 
brought him back to France. " In my island home I learned 
that my people were unhappy, and I came to deliver them 
from the Bourbon yoke, and to give them all that they expect 
from me." 

Much other conversation occurred between these illustrious 
warriors which I cannot relate. Napoleon and Ney each in- 
dulged in a good deal of gush. Napoleon reached Paris on 
March 20th, and a few days afterward he sent Ney to Lille to 
inspect the northern fortresses, to regulate the civil and mili- 
tary authorities, to conciliate the malcontents, and to pave the 
way generally for the new regime.* 

On June 12th, a little before daybreak, Napoleon started 
on his last campaign. As he threw himself into his carriage 
he remarked, "I go to measure myself with Wellington." 
On the eve of his departure he sent an order to Ney to ' ' join 
the army at once if he wished to see the first battle." 

Since the marshal's return from the north he had stayed 
quietly at home, refraining almost entirely from the pleasures 
of the imperial court. He was, as he afterward said, a miser- 
able man, and he wished to avoid the public eye as much as 
possible. At the ceremony of the Field of Mars, Ney ap- 
peared with the other marshals as one of the Emperor's hon- 
orary escort. When Napoleon saw him, he said to him in a 
tone of ill-humor, "I thought you had emigrated." "I 
ought to have done so," replied Ney, " but it is now too 
late." Napoleon's conduct in waiting almost until the last 
moment of his departure before ordering Ney to join the 

* " Ney, notwithstanding his characteristic faults, was extremely shrewd 
with regard to everything connected with his profession, and was most 
useful on the frontier." Thiers' "Consulate and Empire," vol. v., 

p. 485. 


army has been universally condemned. His stanchest sup- 
porters can find no excuse for it. Hon. John C. Ropes, of Bos- 
ton, an able historian and a great admirer of Napoleon, says : 

" It seems like an unpardonable oversight, to say the least. 
As such Ney certainly regarded it. Ney was given no time 
for preparation ; it was only by the exercise of great diligence 
that he reached the front when he did, and that was at five 
o'clock in the afternoon of the 15th, after the Sambre had 
been crossed. He was assigned to the command of the First 
and Second corps, commanded by Counts D'Erlon and Reille 
respectively ; but he was ignorant of their organization, and 
had even to learn the names of the division commanders. It 
is difficult if not impossible to understand this strange neglect 
of Napoleon. ]STo one knew better than he how important it 
is that the commander of an army or of a wing of an army 
should have ample time to know his troops and to be known 
by them, and that this was especially necessary where a re- 
organization had recently taken place."* 

Ney himself says : " On June llth 1 received an order 
from the Minister of War to repair to the imperial presence. 
1 had no command and no information upon the composition 
and strength of the army. Neither the Emperor nor his min- 

* " Campaign of Waterloo," 1892. 

" Ney arrived at headquarters without any staff, confidential officers, 
aides-de-camp, equipage or horses, and had received the unexpected 
command of numerous corps, whose positions he scarcely knew, in a 
country which had been effaced from his memory for twenty years. He 
was equally unacquainted with the general officers who commanded these 
different corps. Some days were necessary to enable him to study the 
ground, the troops, and the characters he had to deal with." Lamartine's 
" History of the Restoration." 

" On leaving Paris, Napoleon had sent him [Ney] word to join him as 
quickly as possible if he wished to be present at the first battle. Ney re- 
ceived this message so late that he had only time to take with him his 
aide-de-camp, Heymes, and set out for Maubeuge without any military 
equipage. . . . The marshal arrived knowing nothing of the state of 
affairs, ignorant of what position he was to take, and of what troops he 
was to command. Though not possessing all the calmness of mind neces- 
sary in difficult positions, because of the discontent he felt with himself 
and others, his extraordinary energy was never greater than at that 
moment." Thiers' " Consulate and Empire." 


ister had given me any previous hint, from which I could 
anticipate that I should be employed in the present campaign. 
I was consequently taken by surprise, without horses, without 
accoutrements, and without money, and I was obliged to bor- 
row the necessary expenses of my journey. Having arrived 
on the 12th at Laon, on the 13th at Avesnes, and on the 14th 
at Beaumont, I purchased in this last town two horses from 
the Due de Trevise, with which I repaired on the 15th to 
Charleroy, accompanied by my first aide-de-camp, the only 
officer who attended me. I arrived at the moment when the 
enemy, attacked by our troops, was retreating upon Fleurus 
and Gosselies. The Emperor ordered me immediately to put 
myself at the head of the First and Second corps of infantry, 
commanded by Lieutenant-Generals D'Erlon and Reille, of 
the division of light cavalry, of Lieutenant- General Fire 7 , of 
the division of light cavalry of the guard under the command 
of Lieutenant- General Lefebvre-Desnouettes and Colbert, 
and of two divisions of cavalry of Count de Valmy, forming 
in all eight divisions of infantry and four of cavalry. With 
these troops, a part of which only I had as yet under my im- 
mediate command, 1 pursued the enemy, and forced him to 
evacuate Gosselies, Frasnes, Millet, Hepignies. There they 
took up a position for the night, with the exception of the 
First Corps, which was still at Marchiennes, and which did 
not join me till the following day." * 

Napoleon's neglect to summon Ney to join the army till 
the eve of hostilities is simply inexplicable. There is no tell- 
ing what effect this egregious blunder had upon the entire 
campaign. It certainly does throw a good deal of light upon 
some subsequent events. At St. Helena Napoleon said that 
on the evening of the 15th he ordered Ney to occupy Quatre 
Bras, and to fortify it against the English. Ney, he said, 
failed to execute his order, and thus seriously deranged his 
plans. Quatre Bras was, of course, a very important point. 
Four roads (as its name imports) meet here, and through it 
ran the main line of communication between Wellington and 

* Letter to FouchS, Duke of Otranto, June 26th, 1815. 


Bliicher. Colonel Heymes, who was with Ney when he re- 
ceived his instructions from Napoleon, says emphatically that 
the Emperor did not order Ney to occupy Quatre Bras ; that 
his language was, u Push the enemy /" Not a word was said 
about the occupation of Quatre Bras.* 

Marshal Soult, in 1829, told Ney's son and Colonel Heymes 
that the " Emperor had not the slightest idea of occupying 
Quatre Bras on the evening of the 15th, and gave no orders to 
that effect. " Ney himself, in his letter to Fouche, says in sub- 
stance that he had no orders to occupy Quatre Bras on the 
15th. " On the 16th," he said, " I received orders to attack 
the English in their position at Quatre Bras." If he had re- 
ceived instructions of this kind on the 15th he would have 
said so.f 

Ney " pushed" the enemy in accordance with the order 
which Bonaparte had given him, and on the evening of the 
15th he drove the Prussians from Gosselies, Hepignies, Mil- 
let, and Frasnes. A portion of Ney's troops took up their 
quarters at Frasnes about eleven o'clock at night. Frasnes is 
but two and one half miles from Quatre Bras. Ney gained 
some important advantages by these vigorous and well-directed 
movements, and but for Napoleon's blind, unaccountable 
neglect, of which I have already spoken, the results would 

* Capefigue says Bonaparte's only instructions to Ney on the 15th were, 
" Push the enemy !" 

Quinet, an able and impartial historian, says emphatically that Ney 
never received orders to occupy Quatre Bras on the 15th. " Histoire de 
la Campagne de 1815." 

f Thiers labors hard to prove that Napoleon ordered Ney to occupy 
Quatre Bras on the evening of the 15th, but his arguments are exceed- 
ingly flimsy. Indeed, he answers himself before he gets through. 

Hon. John C. Ropes (" Campaign of Waterloo," 1892) says in effect no 
one now doubts that Napoleon ordered Ney to occupy Quatre Bras on the 
evening of the 15th. 

In 1888 (see Scribner's Magazine, " Campaign of Waterloo") Mr. Ropes 
uses this language : " That Ney received from the Emperor during the 
15th or at the midnight conference orders to press on to Quatre Bras, no 
one now believes." 

I quote Mr. Ropes against Mr. Ropes. 

Count de Flahaut sustains Colonel Heymes, Marshal Soult, and Edgar 


(From an old Pen-and-ink Sketch.) 


have been much more valuable. Colonel J. F. Maurice, R. A., 
completely vindicates ~Ney from the charges of inefficiency 
and disobedience of orders which Napoleon brought against 
him at St. Helena. Colonel Maurice shows conclusively that 
whatever errors were committed on the loth and 16th were 
directly traceable to Napoleon himself.* 

On the 16th Ney attacked Wellington at Quatre Bras. It 
was a fierce and sanguinary encounter. Ney handled his 
troops perhaps better than any other man could have handled 
them, and the Iron Duke, notwithstanding his dogged resist- 
ance, would most certainly have been defeated if Napoleon 
had not at the critical moment deliberately taken away Ney's 
reserve of twenty thousand men, troops which Napoleon had 
given to Ney for the purpose of attacking the English Army.f 
It really seems (to say the least) that Napoleon was indifferent 
to Ney' s success. As it was, Wellington was on the very 
brink of disaster. If Ney had had just one half of his re- 
serve, Wellington would have suffered a serious reverse. No 
one can deny that. 

At Waterloo Ney fought his last battle. It was worthy of 
his genius and his fame. He went down with the Old Guard, 
but he went down in a blaze of glory. Napoleon blamed 
Ney and Grouchy for his defeat, but he had no one to blame 
but himself. He never ordered Grouchy to come to Water- 
loo, and he didn't expect him to come. Most of Napoleon's 
St. Helena history is pure fiction. 1 have read his orders to 
Grouchy with a great deal of care, and in no instance did he 
command Grouchy to come to Waterloo. As Colonel Maurice 
says, " Napoleon, at St. Helena, invented orders which were 
never sent."J As to Ney, it is sufficient to say that his 

* See articles on Waterloo, United Service Magazine, 1890 and 1891. 

Every student of Napoleon's last campaign ought to read these articles. 

See, too, Siborne's " History of the War in France and Belgium in 
1815," London, 1844, and " History of the Campaign of Waterloo," by 
Colonel Charras. 

t Napoleon had also ordered Ney to spare tlie guard. 

J United Service Magazine, 1890 and 1891. See also " The Campaign of 
Waterloo," Appendix A, John Codman Ropes, New York, 1892, and 
Vaulabelle, " Campaign and Battle of Waterloo," Paris, 1845. 


great military qualities never shone with brighter lustre than 
on this terrible and fatal day. If Napoleon had done his part 
as well as Ney did his, the French army would not have been 
annihilated. Late in the afternoon Ney captured La Haye 
Sainte, a strongly fortified farm-house on the Brussels road. 
No one but Ney could have taken it ; and Bonaparte well 
knew it. It was the key to the English centre, scarcely three 
hundred yards from "Wellington's line of battle. The duke's 
position was extremely critical. He was, as is well known, 
in a state of intense anxiety ; but Napoleon failed to support 
Ney, and he was eventually driven from this important point. 
The last charge of the Old Guard was terrific. Napoleon led 
them on for a short distance as if he were going to head the 
charge, but when he reached a hollow which in some degree 
shielded him from the English fire, he stopped, harangued his 
troops impetuously, gave the command to Ney, and remained 
in the hollow. Headley thinks Bonaparte was not lacking in 
personal courage.* He says : 

" Bonaparte has been blamed for not heading this charge 
himself ; but he knew he could not carry that guard so far, 
nor hold them so long before the artillery, as Ney. The 
moral power the latter carried with him was worth a whole 
division. . . . Bonaparte committed himself and France to 
Ney, and saw his Empire rest on a single charge. Ney felt 
the pressure of the immense responsibility on his brave heart, 
and resolved not to prove unworthy of the great trust com- 
mitted to him. Nothing could be more imposing than the 
movement of that grand column to the assault. That guard 
had never yet recoiled before a human foe, and the allied forces 
beheld with awe its firm and terrible advance to the final 
charge. Rank after rank went down, yet they neither stopped 
nor faltered. Dissolving squadrons, and whole battalions dis- 
appearing one after another in the destructive fire, affected 
not their steady courage. The ranks closed up as before, and 
each treading over his fallen comrade, pressed firmly on. The 
horse which Ney rode fell under him, and he had scarcely 

* Marshal Macdonald thinks he was. See " Recollections" of Mac- 
donald, p. 246. 


mounted another before it also sunk to the earth. Again and 
again did that unflinching man feel his steed sink down, till 
Jive had been shot under him. Then, with his uniform 
riddled with bullets, and his face singed and blackened with 
powder, he marched on foot with drawn sword at the head of 
his men. In vain did the artillery hurl its storm of fire and 
lead into that living mass. Up to the very muzzles they 
pressed, and driving the artillerymen from their own pieces, 
pushed through the English lines ; but at that moment a file 
of soldiers who had lain flat on the ground behind a low ridge 
of earth suddenly rose and poured a volley in their very 
faces. Another and another and another followed, till one 
broad sheet of flame rolled on their bosoms, and in such a 
fierce and unexpected flow that human courage could not 
withstand it. They reeled, shook, staggered back, then turned 
and fled. Key was borne back by the refluent tide and hur- 
ried over the field ; but for the crowd of fugitives that forced 
him on, he would have stood alone, and fallen in his footsteps. 
As it was, disdaining to fly, though the whole army was flying, 
he formed his men into two immense squares, and endeavored 
to stem the terrific current, and would have done so had it 
not been for the thirty thousand fresh Prussians that pressed 
on his exhausted ranks. For a long time these squares stood, 
and let the artillery plough through them ; but the fate of 
Napoleon was writ, and though JSley doubtless did what no 
other man in the army could have done, the decree could not 
be reversed. The star that had blazed so brightly over the 
world went down in blood, and the ' bravest of the brave ' 
had fought his last battle. It was worthy of his great name, 
and the charge of the Old Guard at Waterloo, with him at 
their head, will be pointed to by remotest generations with a 
shudder." * 

Key remained upon the field a considerable time after Bona- 
parte had quitted it.f He was perhaps the last man to leave. 

* " Napoleon and his Marshals." 

f " I arrived at Marchiennes-au-pont at four o'clock in the morning 
(19th) alone, without any officers of my staff, ignorant of what had become 
of the Emperor, who, before the end of the battle, had entirely disap- 


" I was constantly in the rear-guard," said he, " which I fol- 
lowed on foot. " * The rout was complete. Bonaparte and 
his army and his empire perished in one day. Wellington 
and Bliicher inarched to Paris, and in a few days the city 
capitulated, and a new regime began. The king entered 
Paris on July 9th. 

ISTey, though protected by the capitulation, was wisely ad- 
vised by Fouche and others to leave Paris for awhile, and to 
retire to some foreign country. Ney accordingly quitted 
Paris under an assumed name, furnished with a passport and 
perhaps money by the Duke of Otranto. He started to 
Switzerland, with the intention ultimately to escape to the 
United States ; but when he reached the foot of the Alps he 
suddenly changed his mind, and took refuge with one of his 
wife's relatives at the chateau of Bessonis, in the mountains 
of Auvergne. Here he remained for several weeks, " when 
one of those acts of imprudence" (I quote from Lamartine) 
" which are the snares of security, excited a suspicion in the 
neighboring town of Aurillac that some illustrious outlaw had 
taken shelter in the chateau of Bessonis. The marshal had 
formerly received, as a present from Napoleon, a Turkish 
sabre, one of the Egyptian spoils, the peculiar form and rich 
decoration of which attracted every eye.f This weapon 
always accompanied him as a souvenir and a witness of his 
glory. Having one day exhibited it to the admiration of his 
hosts, he forgot to take it back to his chamber, and left it 
carelessly in the drawing-room. A country neighbor, on pay- 
ing a visit at the chateau, perceived the weapon, and was 

peared, and who, I was allowed to believe, might be either killed or taken 
prisoner." Ney to Fouche. 

* " Ney displayed unexampled heroism, and his bravery seemed to sur- 
pass the capabilities of mere man. He was the last that descended from 
the plateau of Mount St. Jean." Thiers' " History of the Consulate and 
the Empire." 

f Napoleon had presented the sabre to Ney at the time of the marshal's 
marriage, July 26th, 1802. It belonged to a Pacha who was killed at the 
battle of Aboukir. 

" Cette arme, dont Key jura de ne se separer qu'avec la vie devait treize 
.ans plus tard tre 1'indice fatal qui le livrerait a ses ennemis. " Nouvelle 
Mographie Generate. 


struck by its magnificence. Without any idea of doing mis- 
chief he spoke of the Turkish sabre he had seen a few days 
after in the town of Aurillac, and described it minutely. 

" One of the idlers who listened to him, and who had a taste 
for and a knowledge of handsome arms, exclaimed that there 
were only two such sabres in the world, those of Murat and 
of Marshal Ney. This conversation awoke conjectures in 
some who were present, which at length reached the ears of 
the prefect. This functionary, being acquainted with the 
relationship between the family of Bessonis and that of Ney, 
no longer entertained any doubt that the unknown guest of 
the chateau was the marshal himself. He therefore sent a 
detachment of gendarmes, under the command of an officer, 
to surprise the chateau, and to bring away the suspected 
stranger. At break of day the gendarmes surrounded the 
chateau ; the officer commanding the detachment and eigh- 
teen men of his brigade entered the court-yard. The tramp- 
ing of the horses, the noise of arms, and the alarm of the 
people of the house awoke the marshal. He could still, how- 
ever, fly by stealing into the woods through the gardens, but 
he was weary of opposing his destiny ; he appeared at the 
window, and addressing the commandant of the gendarmes, 
he loudly declared who he was, ordered the doors to be 
opened, and stepping from his chamber said to the gen- 
darmes : * I am Michel ISTey,' and accompanied them with- 
out resistance to Aurillac. He was there treated with respect 
by the prefect. His guards were withdrawn, he was only re- 
quired to give his word not to escape, and he was sent to 
Paris under the superintendence of two officers. In passing 
through the cantonments of the Army of the Loire, he might 
have allowed himself to be carried off by his soldiers. Gen- 
eral Excelmans offered to deliver him, but he refused, that 
he might not forfeit his word." * 

Ney was imprisoned within the damp and gloomy walls of 
the Conciergerie, and treated with great indignity. His trial 
for high treason began on November 7th. He was defended 

* " History of the Restoration." 


by Dupin and Berryer, two of the ablest lawyers in France. 
The court-martial before which he was brought was composed 
of seven members, among whom were Marshals Jourdan, Mas- 
sena, Augereau, and Mortier. Ney's counsel objected to the 
court as incompetent. Ney was a peer, and they contended 
that in accordance with the constitution he could be tried only 
by the Chamber of Peers. The court held that this objection 
was valid, and the case was accordingly transferred to the 
Chamber of Peers. The trial, or rather the mockery of a 
trial, began anew on November 21st. There was abundant 
evidence to show that Ney remained loyal to the king until 
March 14th, when, seeing the general defection around him, 
and feeling that further resistance was useless, he read that 
unfortunate proclamation, declaring that the cause of the 
Bourbons was irretrievably lost. The strongest point made 
by his counsel was that Ney was protected by the capitulation 
of Paris. This argument, indeed, was unanswerable. There 
was but one way to meet it, and that was to reject the evi- 
dence altogether. " "We cannot allow it," said the President, 
Jeffreys II., " the capitulation is the work of foreigners. It 
can have no weight in a French court. I interdict the de- 
fenders of the accused from making any use of the pretended 
convention of July 3d." 

Dupin, as a last resort, rose and said : " The marshal is not 
only under the protection of the French laws, but under the 
protection of the laws of nations. I speak not of the conven- 
tion, but of the limits traced by the treaty of November 20th, 
which certainly is an act solemn and legal, which we may in- 
voke, since it is to that we owe the happy peace we now en- 
joy. The treaty of November 20th, in tracing a new line 
around France, has left on the right Saar-Louis, the birth- 
place of the marshal. The marshal, therefore, Frenchman as 
he is in heart, is no longer a Frenchman since the treaty. " 

Marshal Ney here interrupted his counsel, and said with 
much emotion : " Yes, I am a Frenchman, and I will die a 
Frenchman. I thank my counsel for what they have done 
for me and are ready to do, but I forbid them from saying a 
word more, unless they are permitted to make use of all the 


means in their power. I had rather not be defended at all 
than have the mere shadow of a defence. " These words pro- 
duced a deep impression upon the auditors, and for some 
moments not a word was spoken by any member of the court. 

At length M. Bellart, the prosecuting officer, rose and said, 
" We have a right, and it is our duty to refute the captious 
means which have been resorted to ; but since the marshal 
renounces all further defence, we renounce the right of re- 
ply." He sat down. The farce was ended. Ney was con- 
victed of high treason, and sentenced to the full punishment 
of death. Marshal Ney was not present when the sentence 
was pronounced, and the secretary, M. Cauchy, was instructed 
to notify him of it. 

The following account of the marshal's last night in the 
Luxembourg prison is taken from the reports of the trial and 
execution, published at the time :* " The marshal, upon re- 
turning to his prison, while the peers were deliberating upon 
his fate, appeared to be sustained by a feeling of deep resolu- 
tion. He asked for dinner, and ate with a good appetite. 
He thought that a small knife was the object of attention and 
uneasiness to the persons charged to guard him. ' Do you 
think,' said he, on looking at them, c that I fear death ? ' and 
then threw the knife some distance from him. After dinner 
he smoked a cigar tranquilly, and then lay down and slept for 
a couple of hours. The marshal was in a sound sleep when 
M. Cauchy repaired to him to read his sentence. Before he 
proceeded to read it, he attempted to address some kind words 
to the marshal, to testify how painful it was to him to be 
forced to discharge so sad a duty. ' Sir,' said the marshal, 
stopping him, ' 1 am grateful to you, but do your duty ; every 
one must do his duty read. ' Upon the preamble being read 
he said impatiently, ( To the fact, to the fact at once ! ' The 
secretary read on conscientiously, word for word, the long 
enumeration of the names, titles, rank, and dignities by which 
the sentence designated the condemned man. !N"ey again 

* See also " Histoire Complete du ProcSs du Marechal Ney," Dumoulin ; 
" Vie du Marechal Ney," Maiseau ; and " Memoirs" of Count de Roche- 


stopped him. What good can this do ? Say simply Michael 
Ney, and soon a little dust. ' As the secretary was about to 
leave, the marshal asked him at what hour the execution was 
to take place. ' At nine o'clock to-morrow morning, ' replied 
M. Cauchy, bowing, as if ashamed of the shortness of the 
time doled out to him for his preparation. * And my wife 
and children, can I embrace them for the last time ? ' This 
M. Cauchy was authorized to promise him. ' Well, then, let 
them come at five o'clock, but do not speak of my condemna- 
tion. Let my wife learn it only from myself, who alone can 
soften its horrors to her.' M. Cauchy promised that this 
precaution should be taken with his family. He then retired, 
and the marshal, throwing himself in his clothes on the bed, 
wrapped his cloak around his head, and fell asleep, as if on 
the bivouac and ready for action. About five o'clock Madame 
Ney, with her four sons, and Madame Gamot, her sister, 
arrived at the prison. The marshal, who adored this young 
and charming companion of his happy days, received her 
fainting in his arms, and with difficulty restored her with his 
tears and kisses. Then, taking his four young sons upon his 
knees, and pressing them to his heart, he uttered to them in 
a low voice those last sad words by which a father transfuses 
the purest portion of his soul into the memory of his children. 
" Madame Gamot prayed aloud, and endeavored to console 
by turns the father, the mother, and the children. The mar- 
shal, who had solaced his heart with the sight and farewell 
endearments of all that he loved upon earth, maintained suffi- 
cient coolness to deceive his wife and withdraw her from the 
agony of his last moments, by imparting a hope to her which 
he did not feel himself. He flattered her with the idea that 
the heart of the king might still be overcome by the sight of 
her grief and the energy of her prayers. He thus succeeded 
in withdrawing himself from her arms, and the suppliants 
were conducted amid the darkness to the gates of the palace, 
where the king and the Duchess of Angouleme were still 
sleeping. In vain. There was no hope. At ten o'clock the 
Duke de Duras informed Madame Ney that her husband had 
ceased to live. The marshal had not lain down again after 


the last embraces of his wife and the sobbing of his children. 
He had dried up his own tears that he might no longer think 
of anything but the dignity of his death. He wrote his will ; 
then, rising from his chair, he walked about his chamber, ex- 
changing with great composure a few words with his guard- 
ians. One of them, a grenadier of La Rochejaquelein, said to 
him, c Marshal, in your situation, should you not think of 
God ? I have seen many battles, and every time 1 could I 
confessed myself, and found myself always the better for it. ' 
The marshal regarded him with interest for a few moments, 
and then said, ' Comrade, I believe you are right. I am no 
woman, but I believe in God and in another life. One should 
die as a Christian. I wish to see the curate of St. Sulpice.' 
The curate of St. Sulpice was immediately sent for. He re- 
sponded to the summons at once, and remained with the mar- 
shal nearly three quarters of an hour." At nine o'clock Ney 
left his prison. At twenty minutes past nine o'clock (accord- 
ing to the accepted historical account) he was publicly exe- 
cuted, at the back of the Luxembourg gardens, as a traitor to 
his country and his king. 

" A truer patriot," says Headley, " never shed his blood 
for his country. If France never has a worse traitor, the day 
of her betrayal will be far distant, and if she has no worse 
defender, disgrace will never visit her armies." 

Says Colonel Napier, in speaking of Ney's death, " Thus 
he who had fought five hundred 'battles for France, not one 
against her, was shot as a traitor."* 

Bur WAS MARSHAL NET EXECUTED, as history states ? I do 
not believe that he was. I shall now proceed to give the rea- 
sons for my belief. 

* See also " Court and Camp of Bonaparte ;" " Le Marechal Ney, le 
Soldat," etc.; Alison's "History of Europe;" Capefigue, " Les Cent 
Jours ;" Lamartine, " History of the Restoration." 

vW \ 



ON the 15th day of November, 1846, in Rowan County, 
N. C., died Peter Stuart Ney. Many persons believed then, 
as many believe now, that he was Marshal Ney of France, 
who, through the aid of the soldiers detailed to execute him, 
escaped death and came to the United States. I myself be- 
lieve that he was Marshal Ney. The circumstances attending 
his alleged execution (elsewhere narrated) strongly point to a 
probable escape. He had all the characteristics of Marshal 
Ney. He was a masterful man. Wherever he went he ruled 
as an uncrowned king. He was like Marshal Key in person 
in feature, in complexion, in voice, in expression, in car- 
riage, in mind, in character, in habits, in taste, in tempera- 
ment, in manner in peculiarities of every kind. The hand- 
writing of P. S. Ney is strikingly like that of Marshal Ney, 
and yet unlike it in the sense of deliberate imitation. He was 
recognized as Marshal Ney by several persons of character 
who had known, or had often seen, Marshal Ney in France or 
other portions of Europe. P. S. Ney himself, in seasons of 
great trouble and distress, solemnly declared to a few devoted 
friends, in whom he had the fullest confidence, that he was 
Marshal Ney. In his last illness, a few hours before his 
death, perfectly calm and rational, he said to his attending 
physician and others who had asked him to tell them who he 
was : " I am Marshal Ney of France." 

And no man could be farther from crankiness or imposture. 


Honest, manly, warm-hearted, clear-headed, plain, practical, 
he was loved and honored, nay, reverenced by all who knew 
him. He had but one vice he sometimes drank to excess. 
But this bad habit never mastered him. It did not seriously 
interfere with his ordinary duties. It never in the slightest 
degree impaired the great, the almost boundless influence 
which he exercised over all persons who were brought into 
association with him. Occasionally, when stirred by intoxi- 
cants, he would publicly declare that he was Marshal Nev. 
Everything considered, we must attach much force to the old 
saying, ' ' In vino, veritas. ' ' On all other occasions he would 
repel with firmness and dignity, sometimes with severity, all 
who approached him upon the subject of his identity with 
Marshal Ney. His intimate knowledge of Napoleon of his 
military operations, of his genius and talents, his character, 
his habits, his plans, his intentions, his private life his bound- 
less affection for Napoleon, his intimate knowledge of men 
and things in general connected with the Napoleonic era ; his 
keen and constant interest in everything that related to the 
life and character and fame of Marshal Ney these prove 
that he was an officer of the highest rank, very near the person 
of Napoleon, and in all probability Marshal Ney himself. 
There are many other circumstances of a strongly corrobora- 
tive character. 

But history says that Marshal Ney was shot to death by 
French bullets. No fact appears to be more firmly established. 
If Marshal Ney was not shot, say the unbelieving critics, then 
all history must be a lie. No. All history is not a lie ; but 
very much of what is called history is the biggest sort of a lie. 
What is history ? It is said to be a record of past events. 
But who makes the record ? A few historians will honestly 
tell the truth, so far as they know it ; but it happens not sel- 
dom that it is impossible to discover the truth, even with the 
most painstaking investigation. Four out of five historians 
will consult their passions, their prejudices, their feelings, 
their wishes, their interests. Each one will give, with more 
or less coloring, that which makes for his side of the case, and 
distort or suppress everything that makes against it. Opin- 


ions, reports, hearsays, traditions, etc., are given as facts. 
They handle the truth " very carelessly and very sparingly." 
Others, again, will invent history, not hesitating to make the 
falsest statements provided their purposes can be served by 
such means, well knowing that a lie consistently stuck to will 
eventually pass for the truth. 

These " historians" are for the most part blindly followed 
by succeeding historians, who are either unable or unwilling 
to investigate for themselves. And this is HISTORY ! 

"Don't read history to me," said Sir Robert Walpole, 
" for history must be false. "* Charles Kingsley said that his- 
tory was f ' largely a lie, ' ' and on this account he refused to 
teach it in the University of Oxford. 

Who has not heard of Cambronne's heroic mot at the battle 
of Waterloo? "The Guard dies; it does not surrender." 
Very beautiful, very touching. It is an article of faith with 
most Frenchmen. And yet there is not a word of truth in it. 
Cambronne said nothing of the kind ; he didn't die ; he was 
not wounded ; he was not even with the Old Guard when it 
surrendered. He was taken prisoner some time before by 
Colonel Halkett, of the English army. Halkett singled him 
out, rode him down, and was about to sabre him when Cam- 
bronne cried out, " I surrender f" f 

Not long ago a learned gentleman said to me, " Marshal 
Junot was a great general. " 

" Junot," said I, " was no marshal, and he was a very sorry 
general. ' ' 

' ( What f I will wager one half of my estate that d unot was 
a marshal. ' ' 

The following books were quickly taken from the well-filled 

* "Walpoliana," vol. i. 

f The wits of Paris got up a caricature with the superscription, "La 
vieille garde meurt, et ne se rend pas"" last words of General Cambronne 
on surrendering his sword. " 

Wellington used to say that a certain set of ladies at Brussels had got 
the nickname of "La vieille garde, qui meurt mais ne se rend pas." 

Vide as to Cambronne's bravery, " A Voice from Waterloo," Sergeant- 
Major Cotton, and "Life of Wellington," Colonel John Montmorency 


shelves : Home's " Life of Napoleon," Clinton's " Peninsular 
War," Alison's " History of Europe," Watson's " Camp 
Fires of Napoleon," Lockhart's " Napoleon," Hazlitt's " Na- 
poleon," Adams's " Great Military Commanders," Browne's 
4 i Life of Wellington," and Headley's " Napoleon and his 
Marshals."* Sure enough, Junot was spoken of as marshal 
in every one of these histories. Still, Junot was not a marshal. 
Napoleon knew him too well. He came near ruining Napo- 
leon by sheer imbecility. He died in disgrace as General 
Junot, Duke of Abrantes. 

The story of William Tell and his apple sacred to every 
school-boy is now known to be the cruellest of myths. The 
celebrated speech beginning, " The atrocious crime of being 
a young man," was never made by William Pitt it is Dr. 
Johnson's child. The Abbe Edgeworth never said to Louis 
XVI., as he was about to be executed, " Son of St. Louis, 
ascend to heaven." An enterprising editor invented the 
words for him.f Leonidas never stopped Xerxes' army with 
three hundred Spartans, but with seven thousand or more. 
Nine histories out of ten will tell you that Wellington was 
surprised at Quatre Bras and Waterloo, because Fouche prom- 
ised to give him prompt intelligence of Bonaparte's move- 
ments, and treacherously deceived the Duke. It is false. 
Wellington repeatedly denied the silly charge. In a letter to 
General Dumouriez (" Dispatches," vol. xii.) he says : u Be- 
fore my arrival in Paris in July (1815) I had never seen 
Fouche, nor had any communication with him, nor with any 
one connected with him." 

And yet Sir Walter Scott and Sir Archibald Alison, who 
wrote their histories within a stone's throw of the duke's 
residence, repeat the stale story with a childlike faith that is 
simply astounding. J Lamartine (" History of the Restora- 

* In the Introduction only does Headley speak of Junot as marshal. 

f See Lord Holland's " Foreign Reminiscences." Appendix. 

| Alison tries to wriggle out of his false position by a wordy argument 
of three pages, founded upon an utter misconception of Wellington's char- 
acter. He makes the fate of Europe, perhaps the fate of the world, hinge 
upon the honor of Fouche, the biggest of all hypocrites, with the single ex- 
ception of Louis Philippe. 


tion") says that at Waterloo "Wellington " ordered the curb 
chains to be taken off the horses and brandy to be distributed 
to the dragoons, to intoxicate the men with liquid fire, while 
the sound of the clarion should intoxicate the horses," and 
that Wellington had " seven horses worn out or killed under 

Stuff ! No curb chains were taken off the horses, no 
brandy distributed, and the duke's elegant charger, Copen- 
hagen, bore him safely through the day.* 

Alison's " History of Europe" contains so many errors that 
his friend Croker in mercy refused to review it. Thiers' ( ' His- 
tory of the Consulate and the Empire" is about one third 
fiction. The St. Helena historyf is utterly unreliable. Bona- 
parte wrote to the Directory that he had taken Acre. " I 
have,'' said he, "razed the palace of Djezzar and the ram- 
parts of Acre ; not a stone remains upon another." 

" I confess," says Bourrienne, " that I experienced a pain- 
ful sensation in writing, by his dictation, these official words, 
every one of which was false. It was difficult for me to re- 
frain from making some observation. ' My dear fellow,' said 
Napoleon, ' you are a simpleton ; you do not understand this 
business. ' And he observed, when signing the bulletin, that 
he would fill the world with admiration, and inspire historians 
and poets. "J 

Indeed, Napoleon said that history was u nothing but fiction 
agreed to." So thought Voltaire. When asked for his au- 
thority for a certain historical statement which he had made, he 
smiled and answered, " I have no authority for it ; it is a mere 
freak of my brain. ' ' Kostopchin did not burn Moscow, though 
almost every history says that he did. Napoleon did not win 

* " Copenhagen lived several years after the battle of Waterloo, and was 
an object of interest to every one who visited Strathfieldsaye. " On one 
occasion the duke said to Croker, " I rode Copenhagen throughout the 
war, and mounted no other horse at Waterloo." See Croker 's " Corre- 
spondence and Diaries." 

f By Las Cases, Montholon, Gourgaud, O'Meara, Antommarchi, War- 
den, Napoleon, etc. 

\ Bourrienne's " Memoirs." 

Haydon's " Autobiography," vol. ii. 


the famous prize offered by the Academy of Lyons for the 
best essay on the question, " Which are the most important 
truths and feelings to be inculcated in order to render man- 
kind happy ?" though Montholon, Talleyrand, Scott, and 
others give us feeling details of this youthful victory. * 

In many paintings, and numberless woodcuts in histories, 
Napoleon is represented as riding over the Alps on a mag- 
nificent charger, though, in fact, he rode on a mule, and a 
very sorry-looking one at that. The original painting was ex- 
ecuted by David, within the shadow of the Tuileries, undoubt- 
edly with the full knowledge and consent of Napoleon himself. 

Even our encyclopaedias, where one would expect accuracy, 
contain a great many errors, some of which are of the most 
serious character, while others are sublimely absurd. A for- 
eign encyclopaedia of high pretensions gravely gives the fol- 
lowing poetic account of social life in Albany, N. Y. : 

" After dinner the gentlemen at the reception followed the 
ladies to the salon and lighted their cigars. Those who did 
not smoke, chewed, and spat quite recklessly on the floor. 
Many who did not use tobacco took small knives from their 
pockets (for an American gentleman always carries some kind 
of a knife) and carved or cut slivers from the chairs. Almost 
all of them put their feet on tables or chairs. This behavior, 
which would insult our German ladies, the many beautiful 
American ladies in the room regarded as a matter of course, 
much to the astonishment of the writer." 

Here's richness for you ! I would like to know who was 
the writer's host, or, rather, hostess. 

In the late war between the States you can scarcely find two 
of the real actors in the struggle who will agree as to the de- 
tails or even the general conduct of any particular battle. 
Wellington said that he had never seen a correct account of 
the battle of Waterloo, f In this respect, Gettysburg, cer- 

* See " Biographic Universelle." 

f Nobody knows when the battle of Waterloo commenced. Wellington 
says it began at or about 10 o'clock ; Napoleon and General Drouot, at 12 ; 
General Alava, at 11.30 ; Marshal Key and Colonel Heymes, at 1 ; General 
Hill, with two watches in his pocket and one a stop-watch, at 10 minutes 


tainlj one of the decisive battles of the world, is even more 
unfortunate than Waterloo. History has been so grossly per- 
verted in the general accounts of this battle as to make it 
almost if not altogether impossible for any historian to arrive 
at the truth. Look at the Isidorean Decretals an impudent 
and clumsy fraud and yet for six hundred years they were 
unhesitatingly received by the whole civilized world as u true 
gospel history." Barere's " Memoirs" are a tissue of un- 
blushing falsehoods. Macaulay says Barere was the biggest of 
all liars, ancient or modern. But the Rev. Joel T. Headley 
is a little ahead (historically) either of Isidore or Barere.* 

I quote from his " Napoleon and his Marshals" : 

" The French marshal" (Soult) " showed himself a match 
for Wellington at any time nay, beat him oftener and longer 
than he was beaten." 

Now, it is well known to every tyro in history that Welling- 
ton completely outgener ailed Soult ; that he whipped him 
badly on several occasions ; that he drove him in disgrace 
from his strongholds ; that Soult never gained a single victory 
over Wellington, and that Wellington never lost a battle or a 
gun in his life. 

Historic cheek can go no further, f I tire. 

The Chamber of Peers, at the time of Ney's trial, was 
composed of one hundred and sixty-one members. Of this 

before 12 ; other officers, with watches in their hands, say the first gun 
was fired at 11 o'clock ; and Haydn's "Dictionary of Dates" which of 
course makes a special point of accuracy, says the battle began at 9 o'clock. 
The same high authority further states that Wellington had but fifty-eight 
thousand men, and that Ney was shot August 16, 1815. 
Byron's famous lines, 

" Within a window'd niche of that high hall 
Sate Brunswick's fated chieftain," 

have no foundation in fact. The Waterloo ball was held in a long, low, 
narrow room, which had been used as a coach-builder's shop. " The ball 
did not take place at the residence of my mother" (the Duchess of Rich- 
mond), "but in some sort of an old barn at the back or behind." LORD 

* Tolstoi's stuff (" Napoleon and the Russian Campaign") does not de- 
serve the name of history. 

f Poe was Jialf right. Headley is the " autocrat" of bold historians. 


number one hundred and thirty-nine yielded to the clamor of 
the ultraists and voted for the marshal's death ; seventeen 
voted for exile, and five abstained from voting. The names 
of the seventeen peers who voted for exile (I shall do my 
part, however humble, toward making them immortal) are as 
follows : The Duke de Broglie,* one of the noblest of men ; 
the Duke de Montmorency, Berthollet, Chasseloup-Laubat, 
Cholet, Colaud, Fontanes, Gouvion, Herwyn, Klein, Lanjui- 
nais, Lemercier, Lenoir-Laroche, Malleville, Richebourg, 
Curial, Lally-Tollendal.f The names of the five peers who 
refused to vote I shall not give. They are suspended between 
honor and dishonor. I leave them there. 

But in justice to the one hundred and thirty-nine peers who 
bowed the knee to Louis XVIII. and the Duchess d'Angou- 
leme (for she was the power behind the throne), it must be 
said that they were cruelly deceived. " The sentence of death 
was scarcely pronounced when the Duke de Richelieu, who 
attended this nocturnal sitting,:]: was surrounded by a great 
number of the voters," who openly declared they did not de- 
sire the marshal's death ; that they had voted for it in obedi- 
ence to the royal wish, but under the tacit condition of a com- 
mutation of the penalty by the government. They therefore 
" conjured the prime-minister to solicit from the king exile to 
America for the condemned instead of the scaffold." The 
Duke de Richelieu, although he had demanded Ney's con- 
demnation in the name of Europe, \ was in the main a just 

* " The Duke de Broglie claimed the right of sitting, from which he was 
dispensed by his youth" (he was but thirty years old), " in order to protest 
by his vote against a political immolation as contrary to the gratitude and the 
honor of his country." Lamartine's "History of the Restoration, " vol. iii., 
p. 317. 

f " We record their names that public esteem may also have its tablets, 
in which history will find and award its meed of praise to those hearts 
which are inflexible to the passions or the calculation of parties." Lamar- 
tine's "History of the Restoration," vol. iii., p. 318. 

\ The sentence was pronounced at 11.30 P.M., December 6th, 1815. 

Vaulabelle's " Histoire des deux Restorations ;" Lamartine's " History 
of the Restoration ;" Lady Jackson's " Court of the Tuileries." 

I A miserable pretext. Europe, as elsewhere shown, did not ask for 
Ney's " condemnation." 


and merciful man. He did not desire Key's death ; and the 
police reports, brought in every fifteen minutes to the quaking 
ministers, were of the most alarming character. 

A Cabinet council was hastily summoned, at which it was 
unanimously resolved to petition the king for a commutation 
of the penalty. The Duke de Richelieu hastened to the royal 
apartments, and boldly " infringing the regulations of the 
palace," entered the king's chamber between one and two 
o'clock in the morning, and anxiously pleaded for mercy. The 
prime-minister kept back nothing. He frankly told the king 
that the situation was extremely critical ; that a large number 
of the peers, although they had condemned the marshal, were 
strongly opposed to his death ; that public sentiment was 
against it ; that a general uprising of the people was immi- 
nent, and that it was necessary to commute the sentence.* 

The king indulged in a good deal of sentimental twaddle 
" I pity Ney. 1 have no hatred against him. I would gladly 
preserve a father to his children, a hero to France," etc., but 
he doggedly refused to change the sentence of the court. 
Others not a few of them known and honored throughout 
Europe came to plead for the life of the great marshal ; but 
when they " arrived at the palace, his gracious majesty was 
going to bed, and would not even listen to a word they had 
to say. Waving his hand as he was wheeled away, he ex- 
claimed : 6 Let me hear when I awake that the traitor has 
paid the forfeit of his crime ! ' The people of indignant 
France uttered the word RESCUE, "f 

The last hope of royal clemency had fled, and the marshal 
doubtless found, as he had said to Lavalette in prison, that 

* The Government officers were terribly frightened. They were evi- 
dently ready for any feasible solution of the difficulty which confronted 

"The evening before the accused had been transferred from the Con- 
ciergerie to the Luxembourg with an escort and a precipitation which 
evinced the uneasiness of the government with respect to a rescue, or a 
rising of the people." Lamartine's " History of the Restoration," vol. iii. ; 
Alison's " History of Europe ;" Craik and McFarlane's " History of Eng- 

f " Court of the Tuileries," Lady Jackson. 


" many friends were watching over him."* Outside of the 
few bloody ultraists it was difficult to find any one, even 
among the foreign soldiers, who really desired the death of the 
" bravest of the brave," while a very large number of Ney's 
friends, soldiers and citizens, had secretly sworn many of 
them had publicly sworn that he should not die by the hands 
of Frenchmen, f 

Ney's popularity was almost boundless. He had brought 
more glory to the French arms than any other man of his age, 
Bonaparte not excepted. Great as a warrior, " wholly un- 
rivalled on the embattled plain," he was yet greater as a 
patriot and as a man. Beneath that rugged exterior was a 
heart as true and tender as ever beat in the breast of man. 
The people loved him. The soldiers IDOLIZED him. 

Now, would French soldiers, and especially French vet- 
erans, have shot such a man as that ? I do not believe it. For 
the honor of the French name, for the honor of human na- 
ture, I will not believe it. Would any Southern soldier have 
shot General Lee, or Stonewall Jackson under similar circum- 
stances ? There is not one worthy of the name who would 
have committed so foul a deed. Death would have been 
preferable to such sacrilege. 

Every soldier, too, as well as many of the peers, felt that 
Ney was protected by the capitulation of Paris. And he un- 
doubtedly was. The twelfth article of that capitulation states 
that " The inhabitants and all individuals who shall be in the 
capital shall continue to enjoy their rights and liberties with- 
out being disturbed or called to account either as to the situa- 

* Lavalette's " Memoirs." 

f " History of French "Wars ;" " Sketches of Napoleon and his Gen- 
erals ;" Anecdotes of " Napoleon," etc., W. H. Ireland ; Private Letters. 

^ General Jomini. 

" Ney was first brought to trial in the great Hall of the Palace of Jus- 
tice. The concourse of persons assembled to hear the trial was prodigious. 
Almost all instantly rose to their feet as Ney entered. . . . His presence 
produced a lively sensation, and a short pause followed." "Wars in 

" There was but one way to destroy Ney's influence with his troops, and 
>that was to kill him." General Bourmont, at Ney's trial. 


tions they hold or may have held, or as to their conduct or 
political opinions." The fifteenth article states that "If 
difficulties arise in the execution of any one of the articles of 
the present convention, the interpretation of it shall be made 
in favor of the ffiench army and the city of Paris." 

JSTothing, it would seem, could be clearer ; and yet the Duke 
of Wellington positively refused to save, or, at any rate, openly 
to save, the life of Marshal Ney, stoutly maintaining that the 
convention was " exclusively military ; that it touched noth- 
ing POLITICAL, and was not intended to bind and could not 
bind the hands of the King of France."* 

Such sophistry was worthy only of a pettifogging lawyer. 
"Was not Louis XVI1L an ally of the English and Prussian 
armies ? Did he not act in concert with them ? Did he not 
follow in the wake of the English army, timidly, obediently, 
almost slavishly, waiting for Wellington to open for him the 
gates of Paris ? Did he not enter Paris and ascend the throne 
by virtue of this convention ? Did he not threaten France, 
when he fled ignobly from it the preceding March, with three 
hundred thousand foreign bayonets ? Can any one believe 
that one hundred and twenty thousand brave French soldiers 
surrendered to Wellington and Bliicher (who were really 
afraid to attack them in their strong intrenchments),f with 

* See " Wellington's Dispatches," vol. xii. ; the duke's letter to Marshal 
Ney, November 14th, and the Duke's " Interview with Princess de la Mos- 

Wellington did not have much respect for the king as an " independent 
monarch" when he sent his soldiers to the Louvre to bring away the paint- 
ings, etc., of the King of the Netherlands. Talleyrand protested ; Denon 
protested in the king's name. Wellington replied that he would have the 
paintings at the point of the bayonet. He got them. But what a singular 
attitude did he put himself in ! The king was an absolute sovereign so far 
as his people were concerned. He could bring them to trial, imprison, 
murder them, but he couldn't protect the public property f In this case, 
the greater does not embrace the less, but the less excludes the greater. 

The fact is, that when Wellington wished to respect the king as an inde- 
pendent monarch, he did it, and when he didn't, he didn't. That is the 
long and short of the matter. 

f See Wellington's letter to Bliicher, dated Gonesse, July 3d, 1815 ; 
" Wellington's Dispatches," vol. xii., pp. 526, 527. 


the understanding that they were to receive a temporary pro- 
tection of two or three days, and then to be unconditionally 
surrendered to the French tyrant ? 

The thing is absurd. English precedent was against Wel- 
lington.* The common sense of mankind was against him. 
The fifteenth article does away with all possibility of miscon- 
struction : 

" If difficulties arise," etc. Now, every one knows that 
" difficulties" did arise in the execution of the twelfth article, 
and yet the interpretation of it was not made in favor of the 
French army and of the city of Paris. 

Marshal Ney wrote a letter to the Duke of Wellington 
(November 13th), in which he says : " You cannot be igno- 
rant of the gross violation which has taken place in my person 
of the Convention of Paris, on the faith of which the French 
army laid down its arms and I remained in France. It was 
on the following articles that 1 relied (twelfth and fifteenth), 
and without these terms is there a human being who believes 
I would not have died, sword in hand, joined and supported 
by all the brave and virtuous that remained in France ?" 

Marshal Davout, commander-in-chief of the French army, 
solemnly swore that he had " understood the Convention in 
the sense of a complete amnesty for all the acts of the inter- 
regnum ; and that if the Convention had not had that signifi- 
cation in his mind, he would have fought, and might have con- 

Count Guilleminot, one of the French commissioners, fully 
sustained Davout in this statement. He testified that he had 
received express orders from the French Government to break 
off the negotiation unless a complete amnesty were granted 
for all offences, military or political. f 

* In Egypt, Naples, etc. In the case of Naples, Lord Nelson acted some- 
what like Wellington, though he had firmer ground to stand upon ; yet he 
was severely condemned by the public sentiment of England, and barely 
escaped parliamentary impeachment. 

f " As chief of the staff, 1 was charged with stipulating for an amnesty 
in favor of all persons, whatever might be their opinions, their offices, or 
their conduct. This point was granted without any dispute. My orders 


Many Englishmen,* too (Liberals and Tories), had grave 
doubts as to the correctness of Wellington's interpretation of 
the twelfth article, and freely expressed them. One of the 
English ministers wrote to Wellington, asking if the twelfth 
article did not grant a general amnesty to the inhabitants of 
Paris, etc.f 

When Ney was executed, as was supposed, there was a 
burst of indignation in England which made Wellington feel 
that his conduct in this matter would be made the subject of 
parliamentary inquiry. J 

were to break off the conferences had any refusal been made." Count 
Guilleminot, at the trial of Marshal Ney. 

See also "Memorial" of Berryer and Dupin (Ney's counsel), addressed 
to Sir Charles Stuart ; Lord Holland's letter on the capitulation ; Mar- 
shal Ney's letter to the Duke d'Orleans ; Circular distributed at Ney's 
trial ; Madame Ney's letter to Sir Charles Stuart and the Prince Regent. 

"How can Louis XVIII. attempt to violate this single article (most 
solemn of all), when in respect to the others, which are to the prejudice of 
France, he has been compelled to submit to their most rigorous execution ? 
. . . Paris is still under the military dominion of the allies. The king 
has not a soldier at his command without the co-operation of the allies." 
" Circular ;" Madame Ney's letter. 

" After three months the king feels unable to trust the security of his 
family and capital to anything but a foreign force. The general language 
of Paris is decidedly against the Bourbons. General officers and others of 
the most respectable description hold that language openly, and they say 
that were the foreign troops removed, the Bourbon government would not 
last ten days." E. Cooke to Lord Liverpool, Paris, September 25th, 1815. 

* Sir James Alexander, Earl Grey, Lord Kinnaird, Lord Holland, Duke 
of Sussex, Godwin, Thelwall, Dr. Parr, Hobhouse, Wright, Hume, Alison, 
Allen, Wilson, Bruce, Hutchinson, etc. 

f Lord Liverpool. He " had been struck with the ambiguity of the terms 
of the capitulation, "etc. Crowe's "Life of Louis XVIII. and Charles X." 

Vide also Lord Bathurst's letter to Wellington. Wellington didn't feel 
safe until he was propped up by the Prince Regent. Lord Bathurst in his 
letter gives us an insight (though unintentional on his part) into a very 
curious bit of contemporary history. 

\ See " Wellington's Dispatches," vol. xii. 

" To have carried out the principle upon which Ney's sentence was 
based would have ended in a public massacre ; . . . there never was a more 
flagrant violation of national honor. . . . The whole affair from begin- 
ning to end was a deliberate murder. ... On Wellington's forehead is 
a spot that shall grow darker with time, and cause many a curse to be 
muttered over his grave." Headley, " Napoleon and his Marshals." 


With these facts before us, how is it possible for any one to 
believe that !N"ey's life and liberty were not shielded by the 
capitulation of Paris ? For the first and only time in his life, 
"Wellington completely lost his head. I honor the Iron Duke 
as few men honor him, but I must confess there is a stain 
upon that glorious forehead. It is not so dark as Headley, 
Abbott, and others would have us to believe, but it is there 
nevertheless. Still, we should not judge too harshly. Wel- 
lington's position as an English general virtually as the gen- 
eralissimo of the allied armies was extremely delicate. The 
king was barely seated upon his worm-eaten throne. It was 
quivering beneath him day and night like an aspen leaf. The 
situation was critical. A single spark might set everything on 
fire. The safety of France and the peace of Europe, perhaps 
of the world, were at stake. We do not know, we cannot 
know what Wellington knew. We have reason to believe 
(from Wellington's own admissions) that he died with secrets 
locked up in his bosom which would have helped greatly to 
clear away this murky atmosphere.* 

* " The proscription of Ney was opposed to every principle and word of 
the capitulation, an act as dishonorable to the French Government as it 
was opposed to and in violation of the faith and honor of the allies. It 
was mean and dastardly, after the ferment of men's passions was cooled, 
to pursue these men" (Ney, Labedoyere, Lavalette, etc.), " a paltry and 
despicable use of victory." Sir James Alexander, " Life of Wellington." 

See also Capefigue's " Histoire de la Restauration ;" Stocqueler's " Life 
of Wellington ;" Crowe's " History of France" and " Life of Louis XVIII. 
and Charles X. ;" Wright's ''Life of Wellington." 

"Marshal Ney was clearly included in the terms of Article 12. ... 
Such a Machiavellian doctrine" (that the Convention was purely military) 
" is contrary to all reason, and such a principle once established might 
cover the earth with scaffolds. ' Monthly (English) Magazine. 

" To deny the validity of the Convention because it was not formally 
accepted by the king was to add fraud to oppression ; for what can be a 
baser fraud than to accept the benefits of an agreement and to refuse its 
obligations ? The recollection of Ney's death was one of the principal 
causes of the unpopularity with the army which haunted the elder Bour- 
bons, and fifteen years afterward, when in their utmost need they had to 
rely on the army for support, that recollection precipitated their down- 
fall." Senior's " Biographical Sketches." 

* Wellington was magnanimity itself. He kept back for some time one 
volume of his famous "Dispatches," for fear he might injure the char- 


Joey's letter to Wellington was, I think, unfortunate in its 
tone. It offended his amour propre. Madame Ney, too, 
was most unwise in publishing detached portions of her inter- 
view with the Duke of Wellington. Such things oftentimes 
have much weight more than one is willing to acknowledge 
even to one's self. Wellington was an honest man, and his 
conduct in the case of Ney is the only blot * upon his private 
or public character. lie erred, but it was an error of the head 
and not of the heart. Wellington really did not desire the 
death of his old antagonist in arms. He repeatedly told his 
friends that he would gladly save him if he could, but that he 
had no right to interfere with the acts of the Bourbons. Not 
a few of Wellington's personal friends were constantly plead- 
ing with him to save the hero's life. Key was almost as 
popular with the English as he was with his own countrymen, 
for the English people, above all others, admire a brave and 
manly fighter. 

4 'Madame Hutchinson, the wife of a member of Parlia- 
ment, and a relation of the Duke of Wellington, who was 
then in Paris, and whose house was the hospitable rendezvous 
of the most liberal-minded officers of the English army, inter- 
ceded in the most earnest manner with His Grace to obtain 
from him a decisive intervention for the salvation of Marshal 

acter and fortunes of those who were living both in England and in 

* "Wellington's greatest admirers wish that the recording angel had 
dropped a tear on this page of his life and blotted it out forever." 
Wright's " Life of Wellington." 

Wellington laid great stress upon the fact that Ney fled, and therefore 
could not think he was protected by the capitulation. This is absurd. 
As Bourrienne says, " Now, even before Ney knew of his exception from 
the amnesty, to appear in Paris would have been a foolish piece of 
bravado. Further, the royalist reaction was in full vigor ; and when the 
royalist mobs, with the connivance of the authorities, were murdering 
Marshal Brune and attacking any prominent adherents of Napoleon, it was 
hardly the time for Ney to travel in full pomp." 

Ney knew that on every account he ought to leave Paris ; that his pres- 
ence would greatly irritate the Bourbons, and might lead to the most seri- 
ous consequences ; that the assassin would be on his track ; that Louis 
XVIII. would, if possible, wreak his vengeance upon him, capitulation or 
no capitulation. 


ISTej. She conjured him by his own glory and the glory of 
his country to avert by such a step the reproach which would 
rest on his memory if this odious sacrifice were accomplished 
under his eyes, and apparently with his moral participation. 
It is even said that, in her ardent and eloquent appeal to the 
magnanimity of the English general, Madame Hutchinson 
threw herself at the feet of the duke, to draw from him by 
her prayers what she could not obtain by higher considera- 

The Duke of Wellington was deeply touched by these ap- 
peals, and he resolved to do everything in his power short of 
forcible interposition to save the life of Marshal Ney. And 
he did. He spoke his mind freely to the king, and especially 
to his ministers. The king became alarmed at his boldness, 
and at last grossly insulted him. 

On the evening of Ney's condemnation the king held a re- 
ception, f "Wellington was invited, and he went to the palace 
a short time after JSTey was sentenced to be shot. His object 
was, as he afterward said to a few intimate friends, to ask the 
king to spare the life of Marshal Ney. The king saw him 

* Lamartine's " History of the Restoration." 

Madame Hutchinson and the Princess de Vaudemont (a Montmorency) 
contrived Lavalette's escape, and it is extremely probable were privy to 
Key's escape. 

The fiendish conduct of the ultra-royalists at the time of Ney's trial 
surpasses all belief. It was fully equal to that of the sans-culottes of the 
French Revolution. " In the saloons of the aristocracy," says Lamartine, 
" the king's ministers were actually mobbed and entreated to give his" 
(Ney's) * ' blood as a personal favor to the applicants. Ladies of the highest 
rank, young, beautiful, rich, loaded with gifts, favors, titles, and court 
dignities, forgot their families, their ease, and their amours, quitted their 
houses at daybreak, ran about all day, and intrigued all night to gain over 
a voice among the judges," etc. 

No wonder that Wellington was " disgusted," and that he felt, with a 
very large majority of the people of France, of England, and, I believe, 
of Europe, that enough blood had been shed, and that it was time to call a 

f There is a " sound of revelry" in the Bourbon palace while the great- 
est soldier of France is being sentenced to an ignominious death. 

" And Gallia's capital had gathered then, 
Her beauty and her CHIVALRY !!!" 


coming and knew his object, and just before he reached the 
king the Count d'Artois darted between Wellington and His 
Majesty, as if he were afraid that Wellington wished to assas- 
sinate the king. The king at the same moment deliberately 
turned his back on Wellington in the presence of the whole 
court in the most marked and offensive manner. The duke 
felt this insult most keenly. He turned to the king's court- 
iers and said : " Y"ou forget that I commanded the armies 
which put your king on his throne. I will never again enter 
the royal presence." 

Stung to the quick, his gray eyes flashing fire, so angry in- 
deed that several suns go down upon his wrath,* the great 
duke instantly leaves the presence of the royal dotard and his 
fawning courtiers. The greatest captain of his age, or of any 
age, is compelled for the moment meanly to retreat before a 
cowardly and contemptible foe.f It was not in Wellington's 
nature to stand this unparalleled insult and humiliation. I 
cannot doubt that before Wellington left the palace, or very 
shortly afterward, the king, or his ministers, or both, were 
informed that Marshal Key could not be shot. { 

* " After Marshal Ney was shot, the Count d'Artois called upon the 
duke and begged him, almost on his knees, to visit the king. The duke 
sternly refused. At length, possibly from political necessities, he con- 
sented to an interview with the king on business, . . . but I know that to 
the last he deeply felt the base requital which he had received at the hands 
of those to whom he had given a kingdom." Sir William Fraser's 
4< Words on Wellington." 

f See " Correspondence of Prince Talleyrand and Louis XVIII. ;" Army 
and Navy Gazette, England ; "Journal" of Thomas Raikes ; Sir William 
Fraser's " Words on Wellington." 

$ Indeed, Wellington could not have acted otherwise. It was not sim- 
ply a personal question. That, in all conscience, would have been bad 
enough. It would have justified Wellington in a quiet though forcible 
interference. But Wellington was insulted, not merely as a man, but as an 
Englishman, and as the general-in-chief of the English Army and virtually 
of the allied armies. His government was insulted ; all the allied govern- 
ments were insulted ; Europe was insulted. It was not a mere personal 

It was raised far above that. It was a public question a question of 
politics, of good government, of international comity, of the respect and 
consideration due from one government to another, and which, indeed, 
every State must exact from another, or lose its place among nations a 


"Wellington was in command of all the troops in Paris. In 
one hour aye, in thirty minutes he could have had the king 
publicly executed. And Wellington would allow no man to 
insult him, or his army or his government through him. 
He was as firm as a rock, as open as day, and as high-mettled 
as any knight of the olden time. " lie did not hesitate," 
says Napier, " to speak the truth at all times, even to kings. 
Monarchs have bowed and been abashed before him. " Louis 
XVIII. in particular had bent before him as a reed bends be- 
fore the gushing wind. Twice had Wellington put Louis on 
the throne of France in 1814 and in 1815. Without Wel- 
lington the allied armies would have been as a rope of sand. 
They would have accomplished nothing but their own ruin. 
Wellington was at all times the head and the soul of the coali- 
tion. Louis XVIII. owed everything to Wellington, and 
yet, when the great duke goes to him to ask for the life of a 
gallant foe, he deliberately turns his back upon him. Can any 
one believe that Wellington quietly submitted to so great an 
indignity ? If so, one must have very little knowledge of 
human nature, less still of Wellington's character. 

I believe that Wellington saved Key's life.* Wellington, 
in all probability, did not wish to interfere publicly and forci- 
bly. He was a patriot, and, above all, a lover of peace. He 
well knew that any open rupture with the king in so grave 
and delicate a matter would be productive of evils the end of 
which no one could foresee. A mock execution would answer 
his purpose, everything considered, and Key at the same time 
would be sufficiently punished. f 

question of good order and discipline, of the peace and security of France, 
of the neighboring nations, of Europe. 

The insult was public and premeditated ; as cold and cruel and foul 
as an insult possibly could be. I say, Wellington could not have acted 
otherwise. Any man in Wellington's place would have saved Ney's life. 

* Peter S. Ney told Dr. A. H. Graham, of Texas, a nephew of ex-Gov- 
ernor Graham, of North Carolina, and a few other intimate friends, tliat 
Wellington did save his life. See Testimony. 

f Apart from the brutal insult, however, I do not believe that Welling- 
ton ever had the slightest idea that Ney would be shot. He thought Ney 
was guilty, and should be punished by trial, conviction, anxiety, suspense, 


Marshal Key was led out of his prison for execution or De- 
cember 7th at nine o'clock in the morning.* Even nature 
frowned. A cold, clammy fog hung like a funeral pall over 
the murderous scene. The following account is taken chiefly 
from Lamartine's " History of the Restoration" and from sev- 
eral reports of Ney's trial and execution : 

" His door opened. He understood the sign. He descend- 
ed with a firm step, a serene brow, and a lofty look, his lips 
almost wearing a smile, but without any theatrical affectation, 
through the double ranks of the troops drawn up on the steps 

etc., but that the king would pardon him. Indeed, I believe the king 
deceived Wellington. I have no doubt there was an understanding, ex- 
pressed or implied, between Wellington and the king, or the king's minis- 
ters, acting for the king, that Ney should not be shot ; or, if not, Wel- 
lington must have felt that the king would not and could not refuse to 
pardon Ney at his (Wellington's) request ; or, lastly, Wellington knew 
that he had the power to save the marshal's life ; and I do not doubt that, 
in case of necessity, he fully intended to exercise that power. So great a 
man as Wellington could not have permitted the atrocious butchery of so 
great a hero as Ney, for he was a hero, say what you will about his dis- 
loyalty to the Bourbons. 

"It was necessary," said Wellington afterward, "to give the king a 
great moral lesson," and he gave it. 

The king certainly did deceive Wellington in the most outrageous man- 
ner as to the paintings in the Louvre, and Wellington was too magnani- 
mous and too prudent to expose the king. See Stocqueler's " Life of Wel- 

During the preceding summer and autumn the king and his ministers had 
been growing more insolent toward the Duke of Wellington. The very 
fact that they were under boundless obligations to the Duke of Wellington 
made them more sensitive, more jealous, more suspicious, slyer and 

The first Cabinet had been broken up and a new one had taken its place, 
which scarcely treated the duke with common civility. During Ney's 
trial the government officers spoke sneeringly of Wellington and Bliicher 
as foreigners who had no right to make laws for the people of France, as 
intruders upon its sacred soil, etc. The last crowning insult at the Tuileries 
was more than Wellington could bear. 

* " Never did execution succeed a sentence more rapidly. The king's 
ministers were in a state of extreme anxiety," etc. Alison's " History of 

The Government feared a general uprising of the people no doubt 
about that but this indecent and savage hurry could not have pre- 
vented it. 


of the staircase and in the vestibule of the palace, like a man 
happy once more to see the uniform, the arms, and the troops 
his old family. 

" The carriage containing Ney, the curate of St. Sulpice, 
an officer, and two sub-officers, proceeded at a foot-pace 
through the broad alleys of the Luxembourg and between the 
silent ranks of the soldiers. It suddenly stopped midway be- 
tween the railing of the Luxembourg and the Observatory, in 
front of a long wall of a black and fetid enclosure that bor- 
dered an alley leading out of the avenue.* Key was aston- 
ished at this halt, halfway as he supposed, when the carriage 
door opened and he was requested to alight. He felt that he 
was never to return, and gave to the priest who accompanied 
him his snuff-box, to be delivered to Madame la Marechale, 
and some pieces of gold which he had in his pocket to be 
distributed among the poor. He then embraced the priest 
and marched rapidly toward the place indicated by a picket of 
veterans, sixty strong, which had been on the ground since 
five o'clock in the morning, f He stopped about eight paces 
from the wall ; then turning round, he faced the platoon of 
veterans drawn up to execute him. The officer commanding 
the party advanced toward him and requested permission to 
bandage his eyes. Ney stopped him. 'Are you ignorant,' 

* " The Government," says Lamartine, "was ill advised even in the 
choice of a place of execution." 

" The Bourbons could not, dared not, attempt to carry out the sentence 
of the law with the forms of the law. The Government did not venture 
to let the troops or the people face the marshal. " BOURRIENNE. 

f Why had these veterans been on the ground since five o'clock in the 
morning ? four hours and twenty minutes before the alleged execution. 

It was resolved, at the last night conclave of Louis XVIII. and his fam- 
ily, to hasten the execution, to shoot the marshal probably at or about five 
o'clock. Why was the hour changed ? And who changed it ? 

See Craik and McFarlane's " History of England." 

Bliicher was very anxious to shoot Napoleon on the same spot where the 
Duke d'Enghien was shot, and at the same hour. The Bourbons doubtless 
thought that by murdering Ney at five o'clock in the morning in a clan- 
destine manner, in a damp, secluded place, by yellowish, ghoulish torch- 
light, they would avenge the duke's death, and would at the same time 
(and this was their main object) prevent all possibility of Key's escape. 
Wellington no doubt upset all these nice calculations. 


said he, c that for twenty-five years I have been accustomed 
to face both balls and bullets ? ' The officer, disturbed, hesi- 
tating, undecided, expecting perhaps a cry of pardon, or fear- 
ing to commit a sacrilege of glory by firing on his general, 
stood mute between the hero and his platoon. The marshal 
availed himself of this hesitation and of the immobility of the 
soldiers to cast a final reproach upon his destiny. 1 1 protest 
before God and my country,' he exclaimed, l against the sen- 
tence which has condemned me. I appeal from it to man, to 
posterity, to God.' These words, and the countenance en- 
shrined in their memory of the hero of the camp, shook the 
steadiness of the soldiers. ' Do your duty,' cried the com- 
mandant of Paris to the officer, who was more confused than 
the victim. Ney advanced a few paces ; then, turning toward 
his unwilling executioners, he thus addressed them : l My 
brave comrades, when I place my hand upon my breast, fire. 
See you take a sure aim at the heart.' Then, taking off 
his hat with one hand, he gave the command in a loud and 
strong voice : l Soldiers, straight to the heart fire ! ' strik- 
ing his hand upon his heart as the last word was uttered. A 
single report was heard. Ney fell as if struck with a thun- 
derbolt, without a convulsion and without a sigh. The sol- 
diers, the officer, the spectators, turned away their eyes from 
the body as from the evidence of a crime. During the quar- 
ter of an hour which the military regulations required that the 
corpse should lie exposed upon the place of execution, no spec- 
tators except a few passers-by and some women from the 
neighboring houses looked upon the body, or mingled their 
tears with its blood. Some groups demanded with a low 
voice who the criminal was thus abandoned on the public 
highway, and shot to death by soldiers of the grand army. 
None had the courage to reply that it was the body of the 
* bravest of the brave, ' the hero of the Beresina. After the 
legal period of exposure, a cloth was thrown over the body, 
and it was carried on a litter to the coach, which immediately 
drove off to the Hospital for Foundlings. The Sisters of the 
hospital watched over the body during the night, and the next 
morning at 6.30 o'clock it was carried to the cemetery of Pere 


la Chaise and buried without the slightest ceremony. The 
hearse was followed by three coaches containing distant rela- 
tives of Madame Ney. Madame Key did not go. "* 

According to the official report^ Marshal Ney " fell dead 
instantly, without a struggle or a movement, pierced with 
twelve balls, nine in the breast and three in the head." The 
report continues : " Conformably to military regulations, the 
body remained exposed on the place of execution for a quarter 
of an hour. There were, however, but few persons present ; for 
the populace, believing that the execution would take place on 
the Place de Grenelle, had repaired thither. After remaining 
exposed a quarter of an hour, the body was placed upon a litter, 
covered with a cloth, and carried by the veterans to the Hos- 
pital for Foundlings. At 6. 30 the next morning it was con- 
veyed to the burying-ground of Pere la Chaise in a hearse, fol- 
lowed by a mourning-coach and several other coaches. It 
had been enclosed in a leaden coffin within an oak one. Dur- 
ing the whole night the religieuses of the hospital prayed near 
the body." 

Sir William Fraser, author of " Words on Wellington," 
has furnished us in that excellent work with another account 
of Ney's execution to wit :J 

" The late Quentin Dick, who sat in the Irish Parliament, 
and, after the Union, in the English Parliament for many years, 
whom I knew well, saw Marshal Ney shot, and described the 
execution to me. The marshal was brought from the Luxem- 
bourg Palace in a fiacre, accompanied by an officer of gen- 
darmerie and two sergeants. He was dressed in a dark-col- 
ored surtout, dark pantaloons, white neck-cloth, and round 
hat with crape ; he was in mourning at the time for (I think) 
his father-in-law. He wore no decoration. On his leaving 
the coach the picket at the gate of the Luxembourg Gardens 

* See " Histoire Complete du proces du Marechal Ney," Dumoulin ; 
" Report of Marshal Ney's Trial and Execution," London, 1816. 

f See " Official Report" of Count de Rochechouart, and of Laisne, In- 
spector-General of Prisons. 

J See also Sir William Fraser's letter to the editor of the London Time t 


close by were beckoned to the spot ; the men loaded and 
fired ; the marshal fell on his face, and the body was at once 
replaced in the fiacre, which drove off the whole transaction 
not occupying three minutes. It was all over before the 
nurses and the children the only spectators could realize 
what had happened. ' ' 

Now, look at the facts : The execution is practically pri- 
vate at the back of the Luxembourg Gardens at an unfre- 
quented spot a dark, foul alley at an early hour very few 
persons present * some children with their nurses are almost 
the only spectators the soldiers load their own guns f Ney 
walks several paces J toward the wall, turns round, faces the 
soldiers the officer advances to bandage his eyes Ney stops 
him with a " proud interrogation" the officer is confused, 
stammers, stumbles, falters Ney speaks, declares before God 
and man that he has never betrayed his country protests 
against the iniquity of his sentence appeals to man, to pos- 
terity, to God the soldiers are unnerved, they hesitate, they 
waver the Commandant of Paris exhorts the officer to do his 
duty Ney advances a few paces, addresses the soldiers, cau- 
tions them not to fire until he puts his hand on his heart he 
raises his hand, gives a loud, slow, measured, deliberate com- 
mand the men fire Ney falls on his face without a " move- 
ment or a sigh' ' no examination is made by any surgeon 
no coup de grace is given the soldiers immediately leave 
they do not defile past the dead body, as is customary at execu- 
tions of this character [ they (with the officers and spectators) 

* The " populace" (more than ten thousand persons) " had gone out to 
the plain of Grenelle to witness the execution." 

f In military executions the guns are loaded apart from the men by a 
non-commissioned officer, and one gun always contains a blank cartridge. 
It is a pleasant fiction. Each soldier is at liberty to think that he has the 
unloaded gun. The firing party was composed of 'veterans perhaps of 
Key's old soldiers whom he had often led to battle and to victory. 

t At least forty. 

" On voulut bien lui epargner ce qu'on appelle ' le coup de grace.' " 

" Le Marechal Ney, 1815." WELSCHINGEK. 

|| " Ney fell forward, his face turned a little sideways. No one ventured 
to approach the body." " Dictionnaire Universel." 

" . . . . There was nothing of all this" (defiling past the body, 


11 turn away their eyes as from the evidence of a crime" the 
body is instantly placed on a litter, covered with a cloth, and 
carried by the veterans to the coach which had brought Key 
from the Luxembourg prison. The " whole transaction," 
says Mr. Dick, " did not occupy three minutes" " It was 
all over" before the few spectators " could realize what had 
happened." And yet the official report states, and states 
twice, that conformably to military regulations, the body 
remained exposed on the place of execution a quarter of an 
hour ! ! ! 

I had the pleasure of meeting Sir William Fraser in Lon- 
don in 1891, and he told me that he had grave doubts as to 
the execution of Marshal Key ; that the official account was 
evidently a fabrication ; that it carried the evidence of false- 
hood upon its face ; that Mr. Quentin Dick was a man of the 
very highest character,* and his word could not for a moment 
be doubted. "It is probable," added Sir William, "that 
Wellington saved Ney 's life. " 

M. Claveau, Sr., of the Paris police, also saw Marshal Ney 
shot. He says : "I was present at the sad spectacle quite 
unexpectedly, and, I may say, unwillingly, for the authorities 
gave out that Marshal Ney was to be shot in the plain of 
Grenelle. Being in the Luxembourg quarter that morning, 
however, and seeing something unusual about to take place, 
I went along with a few others to the fatal spot. It may 
seem a trivial thing to notice, but I cannot help remarking a 
circumstance that I observed as being indicative of the char- 
acter of our Britannic neighbors that as soon as the marshal's 
body was taken up, an English gentleman suddenly advanced 
and gathered up several small stones that lay about the path 
and had received some sprinklings of the victim's blood. 

etc.) "in the execution of Ney. " Bourrienne's "Memoirs of Napo- 
leon. " 

Colonel Knollys, of the Scotch Guards, says that he " was on duty near 
the Luxembourg when Ney was shot, and was surprised to see that the 
murder created so little sensation. There was no assemblage, no excite- 
ment of any kind." 

* Napier, in his " History of the Peninsular War," alludes to Quentin 
Dick in most honorable terms. See Appendix, " Controversial Pieces." 


These lie carefully wrapped up, and precipitately walked 
away. These will doubtless be found deposited in some col- 
lection of curiosities, public or private, over the Channel." 

Mr. W. H. Ireland, in a work entitled " Anecdotes of 
Napoleon," etc., says: " At the Hospital of the Maternite 
the body was laid out, being stripped of the coat and necker- 
chief. Independent of the physiognomy, which was not 
handsome (as the marshal was rather hard-featured), the body 
and the limbs presented the most striking symmetry it is pos- 
sible to conceive, the leg in particular being a perfect mode. 
A smile of the most winning placidity still seemed to play 
upon the countenance of the defunct. Under the roof of this 
hospital the corpse continued until the will of the government 
was made known, by which the body was ordered to be con- 
signed to the relatives of the departed. During the time the 
body lay exposed at the hospital an officer who was on duty 
commanding the escort of horse that attended the marshal to 
his fate, made a correct design of Ney, precisely as he ap- 
peared, from which a very beautiful engraving was executed, 
but only distributed privately, as the police would destroy the 
plate and every impression in case the same could be traced by 
any of its moucka/rds or emissaries. The next morning the 
body of Ney was conveyed, vdth as much privacy as possible, 
to the cemetery of Pere la Chaise. Such was the secrecy and 
expedition practised upon the occasion of Ney's execution that 
his unfortunate widow, wholly unconscious of the tragical 
event, repaired to the Tuileries for the purpose of presenting 
a petition to the king, when she learned from the Duke do 
Duras that the marshal had ceased to exist. ' ' 

The Hospital of the Maternite, to which the body of the 
marshal was carried, was about two hundred yards from the 
spot where Ney was supposed to be shot. It was a queer- 
looking building, of funereal aspect, surrounded by high, 
massive walls, carefully guarded, and from its very character 
free from the prying eyes of the public or from intrusion of 
any kind. At this place " the body is laid out, being stripped 
of the coat and neckerchief" (a very curious laying out) " the 
body and the limbs present the most striking symmetry it is 


possible to conceive, the leg in particular being a perfect 
mode" (nothing is said about the wounds) ; " the marshal's 
physiognomy is not handsome," simply because " the marshal 
is rather hard-featured. ' ' That is all there is no disfigurement 
by French bullets. 

Now, here is a man with (historically) twelve balls in his 
body Lamartine says thirteen nine in the breast, and three 
in the head necessarily in the face not only shot to death, 
but shot to pieces a ghastly spectacle ; * and yet a smile, and 
a smile, too, of the most winning placidity, seems to play upon 
his countenance ! 


Again, " an officer who was on duty commanding the escort 
of horse that attended the marshal to his fate draws a beautiful 
picture of this same horribly mangled man, from which en- 
gravings are made, but distributed privately by Ney's friends 
lest the " government spies" should find them out and " pun- 
ish them." Strange. 

The picture of a man shot to death for high treason would 
have had a tendency to strike terror into the hearts of malcon- 
tents and criminals. "Why, then, should the government have 
wished to punish people for circulating such pictures ? Who 
was the officer that " made a correct design of Key precisely 
as he appeared," with that "smile of the most winning 
placidity playing upon his countenance" ? He was in the 
king's service, yet undoubtedly a friend of Ney, f as the en- 
gravings were " distributed privately by Ney's friends." 

The government ordered that the body of the marshal 
should be given to Madame Ney for interment in the ceme- 
tery of Pere la Chaise. It remained in the hospital until 

* His face, too, was bruised and battered by the fall. He fell on his face. 

f Was it La Roche jaquelein, Colonel of Grenadiers ? He " was on duty, 
commanding the escort of horse that attended the marshal to his fate." 
He had served in the Napoleonic wars, and was badly wounded at the 
"battle of the Moskowa, where Ney particularly distinguished himself. He 
probably served in Ney's command. It is known that he was opposed to 
the execution of Ney. See " Memoirs of Count de Rochechouart. " 

\ The government all of a sudden becomes very kind, very considerate, 
very merciful. 


daybreak the next morning. It was then " conveyed with as 
much secrecy as possible to the cemetery of Pere la Chaise 
and buried without the slightest ceremony of any kind what- 
ever. Why did not Key's relatives, on this cold December 
morning, wait for a more convenient, a more fitting, a more 
decent hour ? Why this haste, this secrecy, this unceremo- 
nious, this unchristian, this inhuman burial ? The night has 
many mysteries. It favors disguises of all kinds. Ney could 
have escaped without the slightest difficulty, and the body of 
another man, even with the twelve historic balls in breast and 
head, could with the utmost ease have been substituted for 
that of Ney ; or an empty coffin, especially a leaden coffin 
enclosed within an oak one, might have answered the purpose ; 
though I think it probable the body of another man was sub- 
stituted for that of the marshal. 

1 do not know who the English gentleman was of whom 
M. Claveau speaks. Of one thing, however, I am quite sure 
he was no relic fiend, no curiosity-hunter. Englishmen are 
not cast in that kind of mould. But the fact of which 
M. Claveau speaks is very remarkable. " As soon as Ney's 
body was taken up, an Englishman suddenly advanced and 
gathered up several small stones that lay about the path and 
had received some sprinkling of the victim's blood. These he 
carefully wrapped up and precipitately walked away." 

Did Wellington send him there ? Did he wish to assure 
himself of the marshal's safety ? Did he distrust the Bour- 
bon government ? Was there any blood upon the stones, 
or the appearance of blood ? * M. Claveau of course could 
not tell as to the blood with any degree of certainty. It is 
well known that several Englishmen Sir Robert Wilson, Mr. 
Crawford Bruce, Captain Hutchinson, and others did attempt 
to save Key's life. They even went so far as to contrive a 
plot for his escape from prison, but they failed to accomplish 

* See testimony of Dr. J. M. Spainhour, of Valentine Stirewalt, and of 
Robert A. Henderson. Mr. Henderson's testimony is especially important. 
His grandfather was sent by Wellington to witness the so-called execution 
of Marshal Ney. He reported that Ney was not shot. 


their object.* There were many Englishmen in Paris who 
would have gone every possible length to rescue Marshal Ney 
from the clutches of the Bourbon government, feeling, as 
they did, that every sentiment of honor and humanity de- 
manded it. Not one month after this alleged execution, four 
Englishmen Sir Robert Wilson ; Captain Hutchinson, of the 
English Guards ; Mr. Crawford Bruce, and Sergeant Ellister, 
of the Fifth Regiment of English Guards assisted in the es- 
cape of another condemned man General Lavalette, of Napo- 
leon's army. These gentlemen were prosecuted by the French 
Government, but the trial was a mere farce. The lightest 
possible punishment was inflicted upon them just enough to 
save appearances, f In his defence Sir Robert Wilson declared 

* Lavalette's " Memoirs," Appendix ; Bourrienne's " Memoirs of Napo- 

f The king even declared that in rescuing Lavalette the English officers 
had done him a great service ! although he had refused the last request 
of Lavalette and his friends, " that Lavalette might be shot instead of guil- 
lotined." The fact is, the king and his friends were scared almost out of 
their wits when Lavalette escaped. " There was no sleep at the Tuileries 
that night," said an officer of the law to Lavalette not long after his es- 
cape. " You can form no idea of the alarm and consternation that now 
fill the minds of all persons at court. They are convinced that your escape 
is the result of a great plot that is going to burst over them ; they see you 
already at the head of the old (Bonapartist) army marching against the 
Tuileries." "The joy of the whole capital in witnessing the despair of 
the police in their efforts to find Lavalette was inexpressible." Wherever 
the telegraph announced his escape, acclamations and vivas attested the de- 
light of the people."" Memoirs of Lavalette," vol. ii., " The Court of the 

Lamartine says that the prime minister, the Duke de Richelieu, was 
privy to Lavalette's escape. " He" (Lavalette) " was conducted to the 
office of Foreign Affairs, where the Duke de Richelieu had prepared an 
asylum for him with one of the principal officers of his department. Lava- 
lette was thus protected by those very persons who were directing a search 
to be made for him." " History of the Restoration," vol. iii. 

The Duke de Richelieu was also opposed to Ney's death. He said to a 
friend : " Time may acquit Marshal Ney of the charge of treason." 

Sir Robert and Captain Hutchinson were not court-martialed. Welling- 
ton got out of the difficulty in the neatest possible manner. They were 
reprimanded by the Prince Regent, but the reprimand was so exceedingly 
mild that it really amounted to an approval of their conduct. It greatly 
offended the Bourbons. 


that his conduct was perfectly justifiable. " There existed," 
said he, " a convention the Convention of Paris signed by 
an English general and ratified by the English Government, 
and the trial of Lavalette I hold to be a manifest violation of 
the twelfth article of that convention, and relieving him from 
the effects of that trial was discharging a debt due by English- 
men." In writing to Earl Grey, he used still stronger lan- 
guage : " Acknowledged as the victim of breach of faith with 
my country, he" (Lavalette) " had claims to my personal 
efforts, even at the foot of the scaffold. ... It was for me 
to decide whether rage or vengeance should be satisfied . . . 
whether England should escape from the shame of again par- 
ticipating in a murder. ... The secret had been entrusted 
first to young Bruce, who had been authorized to communi- 
cate it to me. It was, however, necessary to find some per- 
sons of trust who might facilitate the necessary dispositions, 
and our choice fell upon Ellister, of the Fifth Regiment of the 
Guards, and John Hutchinson, as well on account of the con- 
fidence we placed in their honor as because we knew that they 
had been already, once before, engaged in a business of the 
same nature. ... I have learned most interesting particu- 
lars, but must wait to communicate them until I can write by 
some safe opportunity. I shall put Marshal Soult on his 
guard. " * If these men did so much to save the life of Lava- 
lette, it is extremely probable that they did much more to save 
the life of Ney.f 

Ney, it is true, had dealt the English some heavy blows ; 
but they liked him all the better for that. He was a noble 
and generous enemy. His was a great life, not free from 
faults (whose life is ?), but still a glorious life, the most heroic 
of all lives. There was not an Englishman with a spark of 
honor or feeling in his bosom that did not shudder at the bare 
thought of the execution of such a man. 

The English " public almost universally commended Sir Robert and his 
friends." Walpole's "History of England;" Craik and McFarlane's 
" History of England." 

* Lavalette's " Memoirs," Appendix. 

f Sir Robert Wilson greatly admired Marshal Ney, although Ney had 
defeated him in the Peninsular War. Sir Robert was indeed a knightly foe. 


What was the business to which Sir Robert Wilson alludes 
in his letter to Earl Grey ? " Our choice fell upon Ellister, 
of the Fifth Regiment, and John Hutchinson . . . because 
we knew they had been already, once before, engaged in a 
business of the same nature." 

Did not Sir Robert refer to Ney's escape ? I think it very 
probable. Captain Hutchinson was deeply interested in Ney's 
fate. He was intimately connected with Madame Hutchin- 
son, who had pleaded so earnestly with the duke in behalf of 
Ney. He and Ellister were the very men to undertake that 
kind of " business." Chivalrous, cool, brave, exhaustless in 
resources, they were ready to do and dare everything to vin- 
dicate the national honor and to save a man like Ney. Sir 
Robert Wilson and Mr. Bruce were men of the same stamp.* 
The letter of Marshal Moncey, in which he gives his reasons 
for refusing to sit on Key's trial, is a model of its kind.f It 
made a deep and lasting impression upon the public mind. 
It touched a popular chord everywhere, and made him a great 

* It is true Sir Robert Wilson, Hutchinson, and Bruce declared before 
the court which tried them for aiding Lavalette that they had not the 
slightest knowledge of any plots for Ney's escape ; that they had never 
believed it possible for Ney to escape, etc. ; but the very boldness and 
vehemence of their denials are calculated to excite, and did excite at the 
time, the gravest suspicion as to the truth of their statements. If they had 
had any knowledge of or been concerned in any plots for Ney's escape, 
they would have been the veriest fools to admit it on the stand or any- 
where else. See " Wars of the French Revolution," etc. 

f " I do not enter into the question of the guilt or innocence of Marshal 
Ney. Your justice and the equity of his judges must answer for that to 
posterity, which weighs in the same balance kings and their subjects. . . . 
My life, my fortune, all that I hold most dear, belongs to my king and my 
country ; but my honor is my own, and no power can rob me of it. What ! 
shall I pronounce upon the fate of Marshal Ney ? Permit me, sire, to ask 
your majesty where were these accusers when Ney was marching over the 
field of battle ? . . . Can France forget the hero of the Beresina ? Shall 
I send to death one to whom France owes her life, her families, their chil- 
dren, their husbands and parents ? Ah, if the unhappy Ney had accom- 
plished at Waterloo what he had so often done before, perhaps those who 
to-day demand his death would have implored his protection. It is very 
dangerous to push brave men to despair. Reflect, sire ; it is perhaps the 
last time that truth shall come near your throne." Letter of Marshal 
Moncey to Louis XVIII. 


hero, not only in France and in Europe, but in every part of 
the world. True, it incensed the Bourbons, but it encouraged 
Key's friends, and, in the estimation of every high-minded 
and generous person, did Moncey more credit than all the 
victories he ever gained. 

It was not true, as the Duke de Richelieu said, that Europe 
demanded the death of Ney. England certainly did not de- 
mand it. Russia did not demand it. Austria did not demand 
it. Wellington did not wish it. The Emperor Alexander 
said on several occasions, even to the king and his ministers, 
that he was opposed to these military executions ; that they 
could do no good, and would probably do much harm. 
" Clemency," he declared to the bloodthirsty Duchess d'An- 
gouleme, " will gain hearts and will subdue them ; severity 
will bring you countless evils." The Emperor of Austria en- 
tertained the same sentiments.* General Jomini, of the Rus- 
sian army, very near the person of Alexander, pleaded Key's 
cause with a generous earnestness which did him much credit. 
Europe demanded no such " reparation," and the Duke de 
Richelieu well knew it. It was a fiction invented for " rea- 
sons of state, "f Indeed, these state fictions were as thick as 
forest leaves. i ( Convict N ey , " said the king's representatives, 
" and the king will pardon him. This act of clemency will 
greatly strengthen the king's government." " Give a verdict 
against Lavalette and his life shall be spared, while justice will 
be satisfied, society avenged, and the king's bounty will shine 
in all its splendor," etc.J Louis XVIII. pretended to be a 
" father" to his people, and he was the cruellest of masters, 
the Pharaoh of Pharaohs. His " God-given" charter was 
scarcely worth the paper upon which it was written. 

When everything had been arranged for Lavalette's depar- 
ture, Bruce took leave of Lavalette, Captain Hutchinson, and 

* The King of Bavaria wrote a letter to Louis XVIII. in which he told 
him that these military executions were simply shameful. 

f The tyrant's plea always. "Convict Moreau for reasons of state," 
said Bonaparte's pliant tools, " and the First Consul will pardon him." 
See " Last Days of the Consulate," Fauriel. 

\ " Memoirs" of Lavalette ; Lamartine's " History of the Restoration ;" 
" Court of the Tuileries." 


Sir Robert Wilson, saying, " I am going to spend three days 
at the country-seat of the Princess de la Moskowa for you 
will not want me any longer." * 

This, it seems to me, is a significant circumstance. Why 
should Bruce have taken so much interest in the Princess de 
la Moskowa ? He was " going to spend three days at her 
country-seat. " f Where were Key's friends, devoted and 
numerous, at the time of the alleged execution ? They were 
watchful and determined. They were acquainted with every 
move in the game that his enemies were playing. They 
feared treachery. They had spies everywhere in the cham- 
ber of peers, in the Luxembourg prison, in the Bourbon pal- 
ace, among the police (still controlled in great part by Fouche, 
one of Key's strongest friends), among the soldiers, on the 
streets spies everywhere. Even the very guards who were 
more immediately about Key's person in the Luxembourg 
prison, some of whom were chosen with especial reference to 
their devotion to the royal cause men, for the most part, of 
gentle birth were opposed to the execution of Key. They 
treated him with great tenderness and consideration, and did 
not hesitate to denounce, in no measured terms, those mad- 
men who thirsted for Key's blood. In less than one hour 
after Key's condemnation the fact was known in every part 
of Paris. Key's friends were now especially vigilant. They 
could not be deceived. They knew, or the leaders knew, that 
Key would not be shot on the plain of Grenelle. Where 
were they, then, on the morning of December 7th ? Why 
were they conspicuously absent from the so-called place of 
execution ? Key was but indifferently guarded. There were 
no English soldiers, J no Prussian soldiers, only a few French 
soldiers whose hearts were not in the infamous work they were 

* " Memoirs" of Lavalette. 

t Coudreaux, near Chateaudun. 

% " The English army were not all satisfied at being employed to keep 
the French quiet while the men who had fled at the sight of Napoleon 
butchered the soldiers who had faced every army in Europe. ... A 
scheme which had been prepared to rescue Ney was now directed to save 
Lavalette." Bourrienne's "Memoirs," new edition, edited by Colonel 
R. W, Phipps, 


called upon to do. Ney's friends, a hundred times as numer- 
ous, and ready to die for him at any moment, could easily have 
overpowered them, especially as a very large majority of them 
possibly every man wished to be overpowered. 

The marshal's friends had heard of the atrocious insult 
which Wellington had received the night before. They knew 
that the king was powerless * without the duke's support, and 
that Wellington would under no circumstances assist the king 
in the execution of Ney.f 

In any case, would Key's friends than whom no man ever 
had warmer or braver have basely deserted him at this try- 
ing moment ? Would they not have been present to testify, 
silently at least, their boundless affection for him ? 

JSTo one at the execution ! No one, not even a clergyman, 
at the unceremonious, brutal burial at the heathenish hour of 
six and a half o'clock on a December morning ! No sign of 
grief or indignation anywhere ! Had human nature sunk so 

Why did not Madame Ney erect a monument to the mem- 
ory of her husband ? She doubtless could have done so after 
the revolution of 1830. Louis Philippe gave her a pension of 
twenty-five thousand francs, and permitted her to place a 
handsome bust of the marshal in the museum at Versailles. 
Her eldest son, the Prince de la Moskowa, married in 1828 
the daughter of Laffitte, the rich banker, and was afterward 
an aide-de-camp of Louis Philippe. Laffitte himself was for a 

* " If the allies had evacuated France, Louis le Desire would have ordered 
his carriage and have been at the frontier before they had reached it." 
Bourrienne's " Memoirs of Napoleon." 

f The Duke de Feltre (General Clarke), an old officer of the empire, was 
War Minister. The Duke de Fezensac, who loved and adored Ney, had 
married Clarke's daughter, and exercised a powerful influence over his 
father-in-law. M. de Gazes was Minister of Police, and Queen Hortense, 
devoted to Ney, had the duke completely under her thumb, though he 
seemed to be loyal to the king. He did whatever she told him to do. See 
Lamartine's " History of the Restoration." 

Both Talleyrand and Fouche were anxious to save Ney, especially 
Fouche. They were skilled in plots of all kinds, and though out of office, 
had more real power over the French people than any two men in France 
perhaps than any ten men. 


short time a member of the king's cabinet. So was Dupin, 
one of Key's counsel. The king could not have objected to 
the erection of a simple monument at Key's grave in Pere la 

In 1848 Louis Napoleon came into power, and then cer- 
tainly Madame Key could have erected the most costly, the 
most imposing monument. But she did nothing of the kind. 
She paid no attention to the grave of her husband. In 1853 
the French Government erected a statue of the marshal on 
the spot where he was supposed to be executed, but his grave 
the most sacred of places was utterly neglected alike by 
the government and by his family. 

Madame Key died in July, 1854. She never married a sec- 
ond time, though she was a most beautiful and accomplished 
woman, and in 1815 was but thirty-three years of age. She 
loved the marshal with deathless affection, and her whole life, 
especially after the July revolution of 1830, was sacredly de- 
voted to a formal rehabilitation of her husband's memory. 
Her children aided her in every possible way, and proved 
themselves worthy to bear the name of KEY. 

In 1891 I visited Key's grave, so-called, in the cemetery 
of Pere la Chaise. There is nothing whatever to mark the 
spot. The ground is perfectly flat, and there is no headstone, 
no f ootstone, no memorial of any kind. Underneath the rusty 
iron gate is a small, narrow stone slab, and on this slab is 
roughly carved or cut by some unknown hand the one word 

*"The body of the marshal," says Welschinger (" Le Marechal Ney, 
1815"), " was buried in the family vault. Eleven months afterward the 
Minister of Police gave La Marechale Ney permission to construct in the 
cemetery of P4re la Chaise a special vault or tomb in which to deposit the 
remains of her husband." In removing the body, " on ne travailla que la 
nuit et Ton pla<ja le corps dans le caveau, au lever du jour, a huis clos." 
Why this secrecy, this mystery eleven months after the burial ? They 
worked " all night," and ceased operations only at "break of day." As 
Louis Philippe once said, " Some other man may have filled Ney's grave." 
Doubtless Madame Ney did not wish that the body of another man should 
lie in the grave that was supposed to be her husband's. She had pre- 
viously applied for permission to remove the body of the marshal, but her 
request was not granted. Was an empty coffin buried in the new caveau ? 


1 think that I have now established a case of very great 
probability as to Ney's escape. Those who do not agree with 
me must prove that Marshal Ney was executed. The onus 
probandi is transferred to history. And if Key escaped, it 
is almost certain that he came to the United States. Before 
lie was tried, even before he was arrested, his thoughts had 
turned to this country as a place of refuge from the Bourbon 
storm. Smarting under Napoleon's unjust charges (for Napo- 
leon had thrown the blame of his defeat at Waterloo upon 
Marshal Ney), and disgusted with the emperor's unsoldierly, 
cowardly flight from his last battle-field, Ney appeared before 
the Chamber of Peers four days after the battle and made the 
following speech : " The army is destroyed. You must recall 
the Bourbons. As for me, I will retire to the United States. "' 
And so, during his trial, he said to his counsel, " I do not 
fear death ; I have beheld it a thousand times under every 
aspect in the field of battle and amid the snows of Russia, yet 
I confess to you that I wish to live. I have a young and 
handsome wife whom I love with all the tenderness of our 
first happy days ; I have children scarcely out of the cradle 
to love, to bring up, to protect : these things bind me to exist- 

At first it was necessary to keep up appearances, to remove all suspicion 
to kill all reports as to Key's escape ; for it was reported that he had es- 
caped. The official report and all the histories that I have ever seen state 
that Ney died instantly, as if struck with a thunderbolt ; but one of the 
marshal's relatives, now living, informs me that the marshal did not die 
instantly, that he lived several hours after he was shot (though without 
regaining consciousness), and that this fact gave rise to the report that he 
had escaped and had gone to St. Helena to rejoin the emperor. See also 
Bourrienne's "Memoirs," revised edition, as to reports of Ney 's escape. 
It was said, apparently by authority, at the time of the disinterment, that 
the ' ' bullet-holes in Ney 's forehead were distinctly visible. ' ' Possibly there 
were bullet-holes in the exhumed skull. But whose skull was it ? See 
Bourrienne's " Memoirs of Napoleon," revised edition, and "A Faggot," 
etc. , by the author of ' ' Bubbles from the Brunnen of Nassau, ' ' London, 1852. 

The Princess de la Moskowa was not buried by the side of her husband. 
Why ? The grave of Marshal Lefebvre is in the cemetery of Ptire la 
Chaise, not far from the so-called grave of Ney, and Madame Lefebvre is 
buried by his side. 

* It will be remembered that when he fled into Switzerland his intention 
was to escape to the United States. 


ence. And who knows if, after a retirement and an expia- 
tion of some years, the course of events, my country, the king 
himself, revolutions, or war, may not recall me to the assist- 
ance of France, and give me an opportunity of one of those 
acts of devotion and for one of those victories which redeem 
in the life of a soldier, as in that of Turenne and of Conde, 
faults and errors which are blotted out forever by the im- 
mensity of the service ? To live still to find again one of 
those opportunities of redeeming my life would be to live 

He condemned himself. He felt that banishment would 
be a just punishment. His best friends would have acquiesced 
in that verdict. One of them said, " We would hail banish- 
ment to America with transports of joy." 

I can find no trace of Peter S. Ney in the United States 
prior to the year 1819. Chapman Levy, a distinguished 
lawyer of South Carolina, said that he was told by some 
French refugees that they saw P. S. Ney in Georgetown, 
S. C., in the early part of the fall of 1819, and recognized 
him as Marshal Ney, whom they had frequently seen in 
France ; that when P. S. Key heard of this recognition he 
left Georgetown, and no one knew where he went.* In 
September or October, 1819, Colonel Benjamin Rogers, of 
Brownsville, S. C., saw P. S. Key at a hotel in Cheraw, 
S. C., and engaged him to teach the village school. He 
taught in Brownsville about three years, and then went to 
Mocksville, N. C.f He taught in Mocksville, in Iredell 
County, and in other portions of Western North Carolina 
until 1828. In that year he went to Mecklenburg County, 
Ya., where he taught about two years. He returned to 
North Carolina about January 1st, 1830. From that time 
he was engaged in teaching in various parts of the State, 
chiefly in Lincoln, Iredell, Davie, Cabarrus, and Rowan 
counties nntil August, 1844. During the fall of 1844 and 
the winter of 1844-45 he taught in Darlington District, S. C. 

* See testimony of Captain F. M. Rogers, 
f See testimony of Colonel John A. Rogers. 


He then returned to North Carolina, and taught in Lincoln 
and Rowan counties until his death in 1846.* 

Now, if P. S. Key were Marshal Key, how did he escape 
from France, and where was he from the time of his landing 
in this country until the fall of 1819 ? Mrs. Mary 0. Dalton, 
of Iredell County, N. C., says : " 1 was a pupil of P. S. Ney 
for several years. He taught near the residence of my father, 
Colonel Placebo Houston, with whom he boarded. I knew 
him well. He told me twice, when perfectly sober, how he 
escaped, and how he spent the first few years of his life in 
the United States. He said : ' My name is not Peter Stuart 
Key. I am Marshal Ney. History states that I was exe- 
cuted, but I escaped death through the aid of my friends and 
others. On the day appointed for the execution I was told 
that my life was to be spared. 1 was instructed to give the 
command to fire, and to fall while giving it, so that the balls 
might pass over me. I carried out my instructions. In bat- 
tle I never knew what fear was, but when I took my position 
in front of the soldiers, and gave the command to fire, 
bedoust ' that was the very word he used ' I was almost 
frightened to death. I was taken up by the soldiers ' I 
think he said they belonged to his old command ' and car- 
ried to the hospital. That night I was disguised, and went 
to Bordeaux. From that place I sailed to the United States, 
landing in Charleston the latter part of January, 1816. The 
next few years I spent in seclusion, and prepared myself for 
teaching by studying the classics and the higher mathematics.' 
He said he thought every one ought to have a visible means 
of support, and that he chose the profession of teaching, be- 
cause it was in many respects like the military profession, to 
which he had been accustomed all his life. He could not 
bear the thought of engaging in any occupation where he 
would be commanded or controlled by others whom he might 
regard as his inferiors. In the school-room he would be 
supreme ; hence he remained in seclusion three or four years 

* Testimony of Burgess Gaither, Mrs. Clement, Mrs. Dalton, and Mrs. 
Hughes. P. S. Ney's " School Register." 


I forget the exact time in order to qualify himself for his 
new profession." * 

But there were probably other and weightier reasons for so 
long a concealment. He doubtless thought that in three years 
and a half the reports of his escapef would be forgotten, or, 
at any rate, would pass out of the public mind. The danger 
of recognition would be greatly lessened, and in case of rec- 
ognition, the statements of those who had identified him as 
Marshal Ney would be generally discredited. People would 
ridicule the idea of "Ney being alive in the United States, and 
his alleged execution would become an accepted historical fact. 

* Mrs. Dalton is a remarkably intelligent woman, of high social position, 
and an unimpeachable witness in every respect. 

Colonel Thomas F. Houston, of Missouri, a brother of Mrs. Dalton, says 
that P. S. Ney told him that as he passed the file of soldiers drawn up to 
execute him, he whispered, '* Aim high 1" that his command in battle 
had always been, " Aim low !" Colonel Houston thinks P. S. Ney said 
that he landed at Charleston, January 29th, 1816. See testimony of Mrs. 
Dalton and Colonel Houston. 

f " It was impossible to get the public to believe that Ney had really 
been killed in this manner, and nearly to this day we have had fresh 
stories recurring of the real Ney being discovered in America." Bour- 
rienne's " Memoirs of Napoleon," revised edition. See also statement of 
one of the marshal's relatives, already given. 

J Welschinger (" Le Marechal Ney, 1815") says the firing party was com- 
posed of " twelve men four sergeants, four corporals, four fusileers all 
veterans. They were in two ranks. The marshal was killed instantly, 
having received eleven balls out of the twelve : one in the right arm, one 
in the neck, three in the head, and six in the breast. Some days after the 
execution an officer of the Fifth Hussars visited the place where Ney had 
fallen. They had taken away the earth, he said, so as entirely to destroy 
all traces of his blood. The officer saw on the wall six traces or marks of 
balls, one of which was at the top." How, then, did eleven balls strike 
the marshal ? One ball was at the top of the wall. Welschinger says one 
soldier was agitated, and missed the Marshal. One gun contained a blank 
cartridge. Ten balls only could have struck the Marshal. Welschinger 
has a bad memory. All those who were in any way connected with the 
supposed execution Count de Rochechouart, who was appointed to 
" make the necessary dispositions for carrying into effect the sentence of 
the court ;" La Roche jaquelein, who commanded the Grenadiers ; Laisne, 
Inspector-General of Prisons ; Adjutant St. Bias, who was struck dumb ; 
the veterans detailed for the execution, even the soldier who drove the 
horses of the coach containing the marshal all were friends of Ney, and 
bitterly opposed to his execution. Welschinger ; " Memoirs of Count de 
Rochechouart ;" Lamartine's " Hiatorv of the Restoration." 

(This Portrait hears a striking resemblance to Peter S. Ney. See note on opposite page.) 


OPINIONS of witnesses who were personally acquainted with P. S. Ney 
on the portrait of the Earl of Elgin : 

Dr. A. H. Graham : " The portrait of the P]arl of Elgin is a fair likeness 
of P. S. Ney in size and feature. Ney's eyebrows heavier, eyes more 
sunken, mouth and chin indicated more firmness, as did the whole expres- 
sion of his face." 

Rev. Dr. Basil G. Jones : " Elgin's head, neck, shoulders, and breast like 
P. S. Ney's ; also face and general appearance. When I first looked at 
the engraving I thought it was P. S. Ney's picture." 

Mrs. Dalton, and N. L. Clarke (Decatur, Miss.) : " Elgin's face shorter 
than P. S. Ney's. Ney's forehead higher. Top of Ney's head more flat, 
and longer from front to back ; nose longer and more round at the end ; a 
good likeness in general, but proportions not accurate ; and Elgin lacks 
Ney's stern and commanding appearance." 

H. C. Hamilton, Hickory, N. C. : "A fair likeness of P. S. Ney. Nose 
and forehead resemble Ney's. Ney's mouth firmer, and indicated more 
determination ; lips rather thick, but closely compressed. Ney's eyebrows 
more heavy and full." 

P. H. Cain : " Not an exact likeness of Ney, but nearer to it than any- 
thing I have ever seen." 

Mrs. Elizabeth P. Sloan : " A striking resemblance to P. S. Ney ; was 
startled when I looked at it." 

Rev. Dr. R. B. Anderson : " A fair likeness of P. S. Ney. Ney had a 
higher forehead and a quicker play of expression." 

Dr. D. B. Wood : " P. S. Ney's head and face more massive ; forehead 
higher and larger." 

Valentine Stirewalt : " A tolerably correct likeness. Ney's eyes were 
keener, and his mouth did not turn down at the corners like Elgin's. Ney 
had a straight mouth. ' ' 

Harrison Cook : " Elgin portrait resembles P. S. Ney. Ney had a higher 
forehead and a sterner, more determined expression." 



COLONEL JOHN A. ROGERS, Florence, S. C. (September, 
1888) : "I first saw Peter S. Ney at my home in Browns- 
ville, Marlborough County, S. C., in the fall of 1819. My 
father, Colonel Benjamin Rogers, met him at a hotel in 
Cheraw in September or October (1819), and engaged him 
as a teacher. He taught with great success about three years, 
and then went to North Carolina (in 1822 or 1823), where he 
taught for several years. I saw him often afterward, for he 
made occasional visits to his friends in South Carolina, and 
taught again in the State about 1844. He told my father 
that he was a French refugee ; that he had left France for 
political reasons, but would give no further account of his 
life. He was a man of remarkably fine presence, and would 
arrest attention anywhere. !No stranger could meet him with- 
out asking the first individual that he saw, Who is that man ? 
He was tall I suppose about six feet high large, not cor- 
pulent, but muscular ; a little round-shouldered, though other- 
wise erect, with fine military form and carriage. He looked 
every inch the soldier, even when he was quite an old man. 
His head was slightly bald on top. His hair was not a de- 
cided auburn, but was what might be called a reddish-blonde. 
His complexion was fair and ruddy ; chin round ; mouth 
tolerably large ; lips compressed ; nose high and large ; eye- 
brows heavy and full ; forehead broad, high, and massive. 
His eyes are hard to describe. They were a dark blue, verg- 
ing on gray, with remarkably large pupils. When quiet, 
they had the mildest expression, but when excited, they were 
terrible an eagle would dart from them in sheer envy. He 
spoke English well, though with a slightly foreign accent. 

* For a list of witnesses, see Appendix C. 


He appeared to be more of a Scotchman than a Frenchman, 
He was very neat in his person and dress. He always wore a 
long blue coat, cut in a semi-military style. He was very 
reserved in his manners, and would allow no one to take the 
slightest liberty with him. I was in the school-room in 1821 
when a newspaper was brought to him by one of the boys 
containing the announcement of Napoleon's death at St. 
Helena. He read it, turned deathly pale, fainted, and fell to 
the floor, exactly as if he had been shot. Some of the older 
scholars threw water on his face, which soon revived him. 
He dismissed his school, went to his room, and shut himself 
up for the balance of the day. He burnt a large quantity of 
his papers perhaps everything that he thought might lead to 
his identity. Among other things burnt was a very exact 
likeness of the Emperor Napoleon. The next morning Mr. 
Ney did not make his appearance as usual, and my father 
went to look after him. He found him with his throat cut.* 
The blade of the knife that did the work was broken in the 
wound. This probably saved his life. 

" In the absence of the family physician, my father and 
Mr. Julius Poellnitz, son of Baron Poellnitz, a Polish exile, 
constituted themselves surgeons, and sewed up the wound. 
When my father reproved Mr. Ney for this extraordinary 
account, he gently took hold of his arm, and said with deep 
emotion, ' Oh, colonel, colonel, with the death of Napoleon 
my last hope is gone. ' 

" Some time afterward he went with two of my brothers 
to Columbia. While there a general military review took 
place. Mr. Ney made his appearance on the field mounted. 
So splendid was his horsemanship, and so magnificent his 
bearing every way, that he attracted universal attention. 
There were several foreigners in Columbia at the time, and 
they declared in the most positive manner that this man was 
Marshal Ney. They said they had seen Marshal Ney many 

* " From the time of that unhappy proclamation life was a burden to 
me. I wished for nothing but death. A hundred times I was on the 
point of blowing out my brains." Marshal Ney's " Histoire complete du 
proces du Marechal Ney." DUMOULIN. . 


a time in Europe, and that they could not be mistaken. 
When Mr. Ney heard this he rode immediately off the field, 
went to his hotel, and stayed in his room during the remainder 
of the day. That night he told the boys that they must start 
home very early the next morning. The boys were aston- 
ished, as they expected to remain two or three days longer, 
and begged Mr. Ney earnestly to change his mind. l No, 
no,' said he, without offering any explanation, ' we must go.' 
They left at daybreak the next morning. The boys (Benja- 
min and Frank Rogers) were twin brothers, and about eigh- 
teen years old. 

" Mr. Ney was a perfect master of fence. No one in this 
country could equal him, especially with the broadsword. 
One day he entered my room, and picking up my sword, 
which was lying on the table, surveyed it a moment and 
said, ' Why, John, this is only a baby to the sword which 
I carried in battle. I could cut off a man's head at a single 
blow, and my horse was trained to ride to the cannon's 
mouth.' He had a long and deep scar on the left side of his 
head, which he told me, I think, he received in battle. He 
complained greatly at times of a wound in the thigh. He 
had a remarkably good set of teeth. I have seen him crack 
the hardest hickory nuts with his teeth and suffer no injury 
from it. 

" He drank wine, and sometimes, though not often, to ex- 
cess. That was his only fault. He was very methodical in 
his habits, and retiring in his disposition. He avoided com- 
pany for the most part, but was kind and obliging to his 
friends. My father was very hospitable, and entertained a 
great deal of company. On one occasion, when he had as 
his guests some of the most distinguished men of the State, 
the conversation turned in the course of the evening upon 
military subjects. The discussion waxed warm, every one 
held to his opinion, and finally my father appealed to Mr. 
Ney, who had been an attentive listener, to give his opinion 
upon the subject. Mr. Ney gave his views in the simplest, 
clearest, and most forcible manner, entering fully into the 
details of the question, and explaining them to the satisfaction 


of every one present. When lie concluded there was a pro- 
found silence. Every one looked at Mr. Ney in astonishment. 
In a little while Mr. Ney rose and went to his room. One 
of the gentlemen turned to my father and said, ' Colonel 
Rogers, your friend, Mr. Ney, must be Marshal Key. True, 
Marshal Ney was shot, but he must have risen from the dead. 
No one but Marshal Ney could have talked like that.' 

" During the exciting tariff discussion, Mr. Ney said to me 
one day, ' O John, the tariff won't hurt you ; it's the Hack 
spot ' alluding to the negro ' that is going to ruin you. ' He 
had a way of going straight to the heart of any question, 
stripping it of superfluities, and laying it bare before you. 
He was a man of the highest character, and though a little 
rough and blunt in his manners and ways, was very tender- 
hearted and charitable, and entirely above everything that was 
dishonest, mean, or little. As a teacher he was surpassed by 
none and equalled by few. There was something about the 
man that drew all hearts to him. My father was devotedly 
attached to him, and his students fairly idolized him. He 
was certainly one of the most extraordinary men that I have 
ever known." 

Charles A. Poellnitz, Rembert, Marengo County, Ala. 
(1887) : "I knew P. S. Ney well. I was a pupil of his when 
he taught at Brownsville, S. C., from the fall of 1819 to 1821 
or 1822. He was, without doubt, one of the best teachers 
that ever lived. I laid the foundation under him for all I 
know. He taught Latin and Greek in addition to the ordi- 
nary English branches. He sometimes delivered lectures. If 
not an eloquent orator, he was at all times a forcible and im- 
pressive speaker. He had a very distinct Scotch-Irish brogue. 
He was a very large, well-built, fine-looking man. His head 
was large and round and bald, complexion fair, eyes gray, 
teeth good. At the time of Napoleon's death, in 1821, he 
burned up valuable papers, relics of royalty and high military 
position, badges of honor, etc. The general belief then was 
that he was Marshal Ney. I remember it well. It was said 
that the guns of the soldiers detailed to shoot him were 
Joaded with blank cartridges. He tried to cut his throat 


when ^Napoleon died. My father sent for Dr. Nicholson, 
who dressed the wounds. Mr. Ney sometimes drank to ex- 
cess, but he never became intemperate until after Napoleon's 
death. He was a good marksman ; taught me liow to shoot 
a rifle. In the school-room he paid much attention to the 
derivation of words from Latin and Greek. He was rough, 
sometimes severe, but his heart was good, and he was beloved 
and honored by every one." 

Mrs. Clement, Mocksville, N. C. (1888) : " Peter S. Ney 
taught school in Mocksville in 1822 or 1823. I cannot re- 
member the exact year when he began to teach. He taught 
a few years and then went, I think, to Iredell County. I 
was his pupil for some time I think in 1823. I was quite 
young, and do not remember much about him, except that 
he was a very large, bald-headed man, with sharp eyes, bushy 
eyebrows, and a florid complexion. His pupils were some- 
what afraid of him, but they all loved him." 

Burgess Gaither, Farmington, Davie County, N. C. (1883) : 
" Peter S. Ney taught school on one of my father's planta- 
tions in 1832. 1 was his pupil at that time, and became very 
much attached to him. I was his pupil again in 1834-35, 
when he taught south of Mocksville. I will answer your 
questions in regular order : 

" 1. I do not know when Peter S. Ney came to Mocks- 
ville. I suppose, from what I have heard, somewhere about 
1820. A gentleman in whose word I can place the fullest 
confidence relates the following incident : * One day in 1820 
(it may have been later), during a heated political campaign, 
a party of men met in Mocksville (then consisting of but a 
few houses) to drink whiskey and to talk politics. One of the 
men was Dr. Schools, an educated gentleman, who had some 
years before come from Ireland, and settled in Mocksville. 
Words ran high, and at length one of the crowd used lan- 
guage which Dr. Schools deemed personally insulting. He 
demanded an apology. His opponent refused to make any. 
Thereupon the doctor drew his dagger, seized his adversary 
by the collar, and swore he must retract or he would thrust 
him through. No one would interfere, as most of the crowcj, 


were the doctor's friends. Just at that moment a stranger 
stepped up, and taking hold of the doctor's arm, remarked, 
" What ! kill a man unarmed, with no chance to defend him- 
self ?' ' Dr. Schools turned quickly around, and looked the 
stranger full in the face. He immediately dropped his arm, 
and put his dagger in his pocket. The stranger was at once 
the hero of the hour. Dr. Schools shook him warmly by the 
hand, and to the day of his death Peter S. Ney (for he was 
the stranger) had no warmer, truer friend than this gallant, 
open-hearted Irishman. Mr. Ney needed no formal intro- 
duction to that crowd. He told them his name, and that he 
was a French refugee looking for a school. That was just 
what the people wanted. They gathered around him, and 
begged him to remain with them and teach their children. 
He did so. He taught in this county and in the adjoining 
counties for several years, acquiring a reputation as a teacher 
which, 1 think, has never been equalled, certainly never 
surpassed in the entire State. ' 

" 2. He was a fine scholar. Those who were capable of 
judging say he could speak with ease and fluency the French, 
Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages. He was a splendid 
mathematician. He seemed never to grow weary of solving 
hard and intricate problems. His mind was strong and vigor- 
ous, and seemed to be capable of grasping any subject. 

" 3. Mr. N~ey was a large, heavy-built man, but not cor- 
pulent, with a round body and an erect figure. He would 
weigh, I suppose, over two hundred pounds. He had power- 
ful muscles, and was remarkably quick aod active for a man 
of his age. His person appeared to be uniformly straight 
from his hips up. He had a robust constitution, and could 
stand any amount of exposure. He was little affected either 
by heat or cold. It was a rare thing to see him near the fire, 
even in the coldest weather. He was about five feet ten and 
one half or eleven inches high, and very graceful, though 
simple and unaffected in all his movements. His head was 
large, round, and well shaped. It was nearly bald. There 
was a little hair on the back and sides of his head. His fore- 
head was broad and full ; his eyes were of a light blue color, 


keen and full of intelligence, and at times very fiery arid 
piercing ; his nose was prominent, broad at the hase, and a 
little tipped at the point ; mouth of medium size, with thin 
lips ; chin round, prominent, and on the thin order ; com- 
plexion fair, and face dotted from small-pox. He walked 
rather rapidly, except when in deep thought, and was quick 
and sprightly in all his actions. His feet were of medium 
size, rather thin and flat ; his hands, small for a man of his 
size and well shaped ; fingers rather short. 

" 4. He spoke English as well as any Englishman. I sup- 
pose he was familiar with the language when he came to this 
country, for he spoke it when he first came to Mocksville. 
He spoke French as if it were his mother tongue. I have 
lieard him speak of his family. He told me that he had a 
wife and children in France, but did not say how many chil- 
dren. He said that his mother had Irish blood in her veins, 
and from her he inherited his impetuous temper. 

" 5. I do not know his exact age. I heard him say, in 
1832, that he was over sixty years old, but that the people in 
France looked upon him as a dead man. 

" 6. He had the highest opinion of Napoleon Bonaparte. 
He thought him the greatest man that ever lived. If you 
wished to rouse up the old man, you had but to watch your 
chance and ask him of Napoleon or his battles. I have lis- 
tened to him with inexpressible delight when I could draw 
him out on these subjects, but I was too young to remember 
or to comprehend all that he said. He told me about the 
Kussian campaign, giving the names of persons and places, 
the details of battles fought, etc. I remember that he spoke 
with much feeling about the French soldiers attempting to 
cross a river on the ice, but too many crowding on it at once, 
the ice gave way, and a great many of the poor fellows were 
drowned in his sight, and he was unable to help them.* I 

* " Their leader" (Ney at the passage of the Dnieper) " at length deter- 
mined to attempt the passage of several wagons loaded with these poor 
creatures" (the sick, wounded, etc.), " but in the middle of the stream the 
ice sank down and separated. Then were heard proceeding from the 
gulf first cries of anguish, long and piercing, then stifled and feeble 


have heard him speak of the Junior Reserves when called 
out (I suppose), in the campaign of 1813, how they would 
dread to go into the heat of the action, how sorry he would 
be for them, how after a few rounds he would send them to 
the rear, and how after a few trials they would become sturdy 
and fight like veterans.* He often alluded to Waterloo, and 
sometimes to Elba and St. Helena, but the mention of these 
places always appeared sadly to trouble him. He sometimes 
spoke of Wellington. He said that at Waterloo Wellington 
was so hard pressed that he looked at his watch, and 
murmured, ' Oh, that night or Bliicher would come ! ' To- 
show how great events oftentimes spring from small causes,, 
he said that Bliicher 's horse was killed at the battle of Ligny, 
that Bliicher was so badly hurt by the fall he could not get 
up, and that the French troops marched over him and then 
back again without discovering who it was ; but had they dis- 
covered him, the Prussians would not have reached Waterloo,, 
and that before night Napoleon would have annihilated Wel- 
lington's army, and perhaps have changed the fate of Europe. 
It always pained him deeply to say anything about the reverses* 
of Napoleon. He seldom referred to Louis XVIII. When 
he did, it was with the utmost contempt. Mr. Ney was a. 

groans, quickly succeeded by an awful silence. All had disappeared. 
. . . The narrators appeared to shudder again at the recollection of the 
horrible sight. . . . Ney was looking steadfastly at the abyss with an air 
of consternation" etc. " Napoleon's Expedition to Russia," SEGUR. 

* " I went to pay my respects to Marshal Ney, who, having received a 
severe contusion in the leg" (at the battle of Lutzen), " had not been able 
to march with his corps. He was so good as to explain to me his manoeu- 
vres and his reiterated attacks, which had decided the success of the day. 
He said, ' I had only battalions of conscripts, and I have reason to con- 
gratulate myself on it ; I doubt whether I could have done the same thing. 
with the old grenadiers of the Guard. I had before me the best of the 
enemy's troops, the whole of the Prussian Guards ; our bravest grenadiers, 
after having twice failed, would perhaps not have carried the village, but 
I led these brave children five times to the charge, and their docility, per- 
haps, too, their inexperience, served me better than veteran courage ; the 
French infantry is never too young." Lieutenant- General Count Dumas' 
" Memoirs of the Revolution, the Empire, and the Restoration." 

" These children are heroes ; I shall accomplish with them whatever 
you please." Ney to Napoleon. 


splendid swordsman. I have heard him speak of fencing 
contests between him and Murat. lie said they never could 
decide which was the better fencer. Sometimes in presence of 
Napoleon they would be trying their skill, and, both being 
high-tempered and impetuous, they would get their mettle 
up and become too much excited, when Napoleon would 
say, * Come, come, that will do,' and put a stop to the fun.* 
That he was firmly attached to Napoleon you may judge 
from the fact that he wore the same style of coat that Napo- 
leon used to wear. It was long, almost touching his ankles, 
generally of bluish-black broadcloath, and without lapels. 

" 7. He had a notable wound on the left side of his head. 
It was a sabre cut directly above the left eye, three or four 
inches long and about two and one half inches broad. It 
appeared to have been produced by a glancing stroke which 
cut up the scalp, but did not entirely separate it from the 
bone. The skin was sewed back, but rather unevenly, as 
every stitch was distinctly visible. He had another wound 
in the calf of his leg, produced by a musket ball. The ball, 
I think, was still in his leg, and pained him at times, espe- 
cially when he walked. These are the only wounds that I 
have any personal knowledge of. He told me in what battle 
he received the sabre cut, but 1 have forgotten the name. 
He said he was on horseback at the time, in a hand-to-hand 
encounter ; that he cut down a man from his horse just in 
front of him, but before he could recover, another man struck 
him from his horse ; that his head would have been split open 
but for one of his friends on the right, who saw the danger, 
and threw up his sword to defend him, but was too far off 
entirely to avert the blow. He turned the sabre, however, 
and caused only a glancing stroke. He said it was like a 
flash of lightning, and that he knew nothing for some time 

" 8. He was anxious to get back to France to his family 
and home and country. That seemed to be the absorbing 

* Ney and Murat were the best fencers in Europe, and it is quite prob- 
able that they engaged in the friendly contests of which P. S. Ney speaks 
in the presence of their emperor. 


object of his life. One Monday morning in the year 1832 
Mr. Ney came to school feeling somewhat unwell from the 
effects of a little spree on the Saturday previous. He told 
his pupils there would be no school that day, but to come 
back the next day, Tuesday. ' If, however, ' said he, ( any 
of you choose to remain, I will instruct you, but there will 
be no regular school. ' I stayed and went on with my studies, 
as usual. Some time in the day Mr. Ney told me that he 
was suffering a good deal, and asked me to get him some 
brandy from my father's house, which was not far oft. I 
did so. He drank it off, and said it gave him great relief. 
He then remarked that I had always been very kind to him, 
and he would be glad to reward me when in a position to do 
so. ' People here,' said he, i call me old Ney, but they do 
not know who I am. Young Napoleon will soon be of age, 
and then the French people will put him on the throne, and 
I shall go back to France, and have rank and position and 
influence. I am not what I seem to be. I am Marshal Ney, 
of France. ' He then told me how he escaped. He said he 
was tried and condemned to be shot, and was apparently shot, 
and that his countrymen thought he was a dead man. ' Louis 
XYIII.,' said he, ' was full of revenge. He ordered that 
some of my old soldiers, whom I had often led into battle, 
should be my executioners. The thing was so revolting to 
Frenchmen that a plan was formed for my escape. The 
officer appointed to superintend my execution told one of my 
friends to apply to the king for my body for interment. He 
did so, and the necessary permission was granted. I was 
told to give the command fire, and to fall as I gave it. I did 
so. The soldiers, who had previously been instructed, fired 
almost instantly, the balls passing over my head and striking 
the planks or wall behind. I was pronounced dead, hastily 
taken up, put into a carriage, and driven off to a neighboring 
hospital. That night I was disguised and left for America.' 
If he gave the names of any persons concerned in the plot, 
I do not recollect them, but I think he gave no names. In 
October, 1832, while sitting calmly at his desk in the school- 
room, one of the pupils brought him his papers. In a few 


minutes he threw down the paper which he had been reading, 
and began walking the floor in great excitement. As soon as 
I got to the door I saw that he was greatly troubled, and I 
felt very sorry for him. He turned to me, his eyes wildly 
glaring, the deepest agony depicted in his looks, his powerful 
frame convulsed with emotion. He pointed to a pair of and- 
irons in the fireplace, and said to me, ( Little fellow, can you 
eat those dogirons f ' I said that 1 could not. * "Well, then,' 
he replied, ' I have a harder task than that. Young Napo- 
leon is dead, and with him dies all hope of ever going back 
to France, of again seeing wife and children and home and 
friends.' He then walked the floor, and in the most pathetic 
terms bewailed his unhappy lot. 1 never saw such grief. 
All of his scholars were deeply affected, for they almost wor- 
shipped the man. In a few minutes he dismissed his school, 
and went to Mr. Thomas Foster's, where he was boarding. 
The next morning, being anxious to hear from him, 1 went 
up to Mr. Foster's and saw "Wiley Ellis, a student who boarded 
with Mr. Foster, and he told me that Mr. Key took a large 
roll of manuscript from his trunk and burnt it, and that he 
had been so wild and restless that Mr. Foster had had him 
watched all night, fearing he might commit suicide. I had 
seen the manuscript to which Wiley Ellis alluded. Mr. Ney 
showed it to me one day, and said that it contained an ac- 
count of his life, and that if he should die before he got back 
to France, his full history would be known. There was quite 
a large quantity of the manuscript, and Mr. Ney always kept 
it locked up in his trunk. It was several days before Mr. 
Ney's friends could induce him to resume his school. From 
that time on he was a changed man. He never spoke again, 
so far as 1 know, of going back to France. 

" 9. Mr. Ney was entirely free from hobbies or idiosyn- 
crasies of any kind. His mind was clear on all subjects, and 
he was thoroughly practical in every thing that he did. He 
was plain in his ways, outspoken on all subjects, sometimes 
rough and apparently severe, but always just and generous 
and merciful. If he wounded or hurt anybody by word or 
deed, he was quick to apologize, and to repair, to the fullest 


extent, any wrong which he may have committed. As a 
teacher he seemed to know exactly what each pupil could 
accomplish ; that much he required, and nothing more. If a 
pupil was obedient and studious, he was gentle and indulgent ; 
but if disobedient and idle, he was very strict and rigid. I 
have seen grown-up young men, who had been spoilt at home, 
and who openly declared they intended to do as they pleased 
in school, cower before him in perfect submission to his will. 
" 10. Mr. Key's character as a man and citizen was above 
all reproach. He was quiet, orderly, industrious, public-spir- 
ited, and honorable in all the relations of life. Nothing could 
be said against the man except his habit of drinking too much 
at certain times ; but even then he was guilty of no disorder, 
or rude and improper conduct of any kind. You never saw 
him in a grog-shop or drinking-saloon, or mixing in with a 
drinking crowd. He was talkative and communicative when 
drinking, but careful to say nothing offensive or to give 
trouble to any one about the house. He was not only kind- 
hearted, but benevolent. He gave a great many poor orphan 
children their tuition free. He was polite and gentlemanly 
in his manners, but quick to resent an insult. In 1835 he 
was teaching a few miles south of Mocksville, and boarding 
with a gentleman whose sons were Mr. Ney's pupils. At 
one time two clergymen were on a visit to this gentleman. 
When dinner came Mr. Ney, being a little tipsy, made some 
witty but inoffensive remark to one of the ministers. Mr. 
fearing Mr. Ney might be tempted to divert the conver- 
sation into unclerical channels, said to him rather pleasantly, 
6 Mr. Ney, you are at my table.' Mr. Ney instantly replied, 
* Do you suppose I do not know what is due a gentleman ? ' 
quit the table and never returned. I never saw him drunk 
enough to stagger, though I have heard that he was occa- 
sionally in that condition. It has been said that he used pro- 
fane language when he heard of the death of young Napo- 
leon. I do not think he did. He was too refined and well- 
bred to use profane language in presence of his pupils. I 
certainly never heard him do so, though in this case he may 
have been carried away by his feelings. The only expression 


like an oath that I ever heard him use was * By Jove ! ' He 
was remarkably modest and unobtrusive in his general deport- 
ment. There was no bluster or brag or affectation about him. 
He lived entirely in the country, always boarding witli the 
best people, and seldom went to town. He avoided large 
crowds and public places, and spent much of his time in read- 
ing and writing. He wrote for several newspapers. As a 
rule, he would not talk about himself, even to his intimate 
friends. If you interrogated him about his history, you 
would be almost sure to get a rebuff. 1 think he left no like- 
ness of himself. If he had pictures of Napoleon and Jose- 
phine, I never saw them. I do not think he ever wrote let- 
ters to France. I used to take letters for him to the post- 
office, but I do not remember that he ever sent any to or 
received any from France or any other portion of Europe. 
He died beloved and lamented by all who knew him. Peace 
to his ashes. ' ' 

Colonel Thomas F. Houston, Houstonia, Mo., formerly of Ire- 
dell County, N. C. (1877) : " About 1826 (fifty-one years ago) 
my uncle, Colonel Francis Young, of Iredell County, N. C., 
engaged P. S. Ney to teach the languages to his sons at Oak Hill 
Academy. I was too young at that time to attend school, but 
in January, 1830, I became his pupil, and continued so most 
of the time until 1838. Mr. Ney was about five feet eleven 
inches high, of fine physique and muscular power, and would 
weigh about two hundred pounds. His head was large so 
large, in fact, that it was necessary to send away to have his 
hats made. His head was bald, save at the sides and back, 
and there was but a slight fringe of hair there, thougli it 
grew long and was combed over the top of his head partially 
to hide his baldness. On one side of his head the left, I 
think there was a scar about two and one half inches in 
length, which he told me was a sabre cut received in battle. 
It was healed, but there was an indenture in which a quill 
could have been placed. He told me, 1 think, that he had 
been 'trepanned.' On one occasion he opened his shirt- 
bosom and showed me scars upon his body, inflicted at the 
same time that he received the wound described above, by 


the shoes of the cavalry horses charging over him. While 
I was his pupil he boarded a great part of the time with my 
father (Placebo Houston), and a strong attachment was formed 
between us, at least on my part. During the life of Napo- 
leon's son the Duke of Reichstadt he frequently told me 
of his intention to return to France, and asked me to go with 
him. Many times he reverted to the subject, always asking 
me if I would accompany him. Assuring him that I would, 
he said, ( I'll make a man of you.' I was not a student of his 
at the time of the death of Napoleon's son (1832), but never 
after that event, to my knowledge, though his pupil for sev- 
eral years after, did he speak of returning to France. Young 
Napoleon's death seemed to have blasted all his hopes. When 
he heard this sad news he trembled, turned very pale, dis- 
missed his school for several days, destroyed many of his 
private papers, and his grief was so great that fears were 
entertained that his reason might be dethroned, and that he 
might commit suicide. 

" Mr. Ney was an expert stenographer, and at the time of 
his death he had a large volume of manuscript (in short-hand) 
which I have frequently seen, and which contained an ac- 
count of his life. Mr. Lucius Q. C. Butler, of Davie County, 
N. C., told me in 1875 that Ney, a few years before his 
death, pointing to the desk which contained the document, 
said to him, ' I expect to die in this section of the country. 
There is something in that desk which will astonish the world 
Get it and translate it, or have it translated.' 

" Soon after Ney's death I was written to by General 
Young, of Charlotte, N. C., asking me to take the volume 
and translate it. Thinking it would be a tedious and trouble- 
some task, and that some other pupil in North Carolina would 
perform that service, I declined to do so, which I now very 
much regret. The manuscript was subsequently obtained 
from Mr. Osborne G. Foard, Ney's administrator, by Pliny 
Miles, of New York.* Mr. Miles promised that he would 
have the document translated, and would return it with the 

* At that time Mr. L. Q. C. Butler had not heard of Ney's death. 


translation to Mr. Foard ; but nothing more was ever heard 
of it. Mr. Ney was a good Latin and Greek scholar, and a 
splendid mathematician. He was the best of teachers, and 
gave universal satisfaction. He had a rare faculty for impart- 
ing instruction. He would at once seize the vital points of a 
question, and make it plain to the dullest understanding. He 
taught more for the pleasure and employment which it 
afforded him than for the profit, as he asked only his board 
and $200 per annum. He preserved the strictest order and 
discipline in his school. His scholars feared him, but loved 
him. Indeed, no one could help loving him. Mr. Ney was 
a man of martial appearance, the finest specimen of manhood 
I ever saw. He showed his military training in his step and 
bearing. His countenance was open and noble. His eyes 
were of a bluish-gray color, and in repose they had an exceed- 
ingly gentle and even tender expression ; but when he was 
thoroughly aroused upon any subject, they were indescribably 
keen and piercing. He seemed to look down into the inmost 
depths of your soul. He ruled men all classes of people 
as Marshal Ney is known to have ruled his soldiers. I do not 
hesitate to avow my belief that he was Marshal Ney. He 
was always reticent when with strangers, and rarely spoke of 
himself and his connection with the French Army, even to 
his intimate friends, unless the hinges of his tongue were 
loosened by an extra glass of wine or brandy, and his charac- 
teristic reserve thrown off. Then he never manifested any 
boastful disposition, but sometimes spoke of his connection 
with the army and the part he had borne in its campaigns. 
" On one occasion Ney, while intoxicated, lay down in the 
snow near my father's house. General John A. Young, of 
Charlotte, N. C., a cousin of mine and a pupil of Ney, then 
a boy, saw him and told my father. Father sent several negro 
men with a horse to bring Ney to the house. I accompanied 
the negroes, and found him asleep. Repeated efforts to 
arouse him proving ineffectual, I concluded to have him 
placed on the horse and taken to the house. One of the 
negroes mounted the horse, when the others lifted Ney and 
placed him across the horse's shoulders. In that act the old 


man was awakened, and his first words were, ' What ! put 
the Duke of Elchingen on a horse like a sack ! Let me 
down.' He struck one of the negroes, and they let him 
down. He walked with military tread a few steps to the 
fence, and placing his elbows thereon, wept at the indignity 
which had been offered him. One of the negroes, addressing 
him, said, i Mr. Key, can you ride ? ' Yes, 1 could ride into 
battle.' He mounted the horse and rode to the house with- 
out reeling, sitting erect and dignified in the saddle. I told 
father what Key had said, and he told me that Marshal Key 
was Duke of Elchingen, which was my first information upon 
the subject, as I did not understand Key's meaning. This 
affair was never mentioned to or by Key afterward. Mr. 
Key liked his glass, but he rarely drank to excess. He said 
that trouble made him drink. He once related to me, when 
we were alone in his room, the circumstances of his escape. 
' Much of history, ' said he, l is false. History says that Mar- 
shal Key was executed, but it is not true. I was sentenced 
to be executed, and was marched out for that purpose, but 
the soldiers detailed to do the work were veterans, and ' 1 
think he said ' belonged to my old command. As I walked 
by the file of soldiers I whispered, " Aim high !" My old 
command in war had always been, " Aim low at the heart !" 
As I took my position in front of the file, refusing to have 
my eyes bandaged, I raised my hand and gave the command, 
Fire ! They fired. I was pronounced dead, and my body 
was delivered to my friends for interment. I was secretly 
conveyed to Bordeaux, from which place I sailed to America, 
landing in Charleston, S. C.' I think he said 'January 
29th, 1816.' 

" Mr. Ney also gave me an account of his famous retreat 
from Moscow, amid the snows and across the rivers upon ice ; 
how the ice bridge gave way under his army and drowned 
many of them ; how they perished from hunger and cold ; how 
the Cossacks hung upon his rear and flanks, cutting off his 
men, and slaughtering those who from cold and exhaustion 
straggled, and lay down in the snow to die ; how he marched 
on foot with his men, and finally brought up the rear-guard 


of a few hundred soldiers ; and how Napoleon embraced him 
and called him the bravest of the brave. ' In the fall of 
1874 (if not mistaken as to the date) I read in the Dayton (O.) 
Journal the account of an interview between the Journal re- 
porter and an old French soldier named Philip Petrie, who 
once belonged to Marshal Ney's command. He stated to 
the reporter that after the fall of Napoleon and capture of 
Ney he deserted from the French Army, and in December, 
1815, shipped as a seaman on board a vessel bound from Bor- 
deaux, France, to Charleston, S. C., landing in Charleston, 
January 29th, 1816. He noticed after sailing a man whose 
appearance struck him very forcibly as some one whom he 
ought to know. He tried for several days to remember who 
it could be. At last it flashed across his mind that it was his 
old commander, Marshal Ney. 

" He sought the first opportunity to satisfy himself, and the 
next time the mysterious personage appeared on deck Petrie 
approached him, and told him he thought he knew him. He 
replied, l Who do you think 1 am ? ' Petrie answered, ' My 
old commander, Marshal Key.' In a gruff tone he responded, 
; Marshal Key was executed two weeks ago in Paris ! ' and 
turning round walked directly to the cabin, and was not seen 
on deck again during the voyage, though they were thirty - 
five days in reaching Charleston. Petrie said he knew Mar- 
shal Ney was not executed, but escaped to America. This 
corroborative statement was made by Petrie prior to the dis- 
cussion of the question as to the identity of P. S. Ney with 
Marshal Ney, which has been so extensively commented upon 
by the public press, and almost surely without any knowledge 
of the whereabouts and occupation of P. S. Ney in the Caro- 
linas and Virginia. Petrie, if living, is, I believe, an inmate 
of the Soldiers' Home at Evanston, 111., Detroit, Mich., or 
Milwaukee, Wis. Ney was a splendid swordsman, and taught 
me how to fence, at first using wooden swords. At length 
we had an encounter with two real swords. One of these 
swords was my father's, and the other belonged to my uncle, 
Samuel Houston, who carried it in the War of 1812. I was, 
of course, no match for Ney, and he could easily have cut me 


down had he so desired. I have his old Latin grammar, pub- 
lished in 1818, in which are inserted a large number of Latin 
and Greek exercises in his handwriting, such exercises as he 
used in instructing his pupils. In that grammar were many 
of his autographic signatures, which were fac-similes of the 
signature under the portrait of Key in the history of { Napo- 
leon and his Marshals. ' These have been taken out by per- 
sons to whom the book was loaned, or sent to friends as sou- 
venirs. This grammar was given me by Ney in 1838, and 1 
treasure it as a memento from one to whom I was deeply 
attached. My affection was not lessened by a thrashing he 
gave me because of continued improper recitations in con- 
jugating the moods of the verb amo. ISTey labored faithfully 
with me, but my contrariness was so great that he detected it. 
With the remark, ' I'll make you say it ; you are perverse,' 
he vigorously applied a hickory switch. It took a second ap- 
plication to conquer me ; but this is another reason why I 
treasure the grammar. I have a pair of glasses given my 
mother by Ney, and which came into my possession at her 
death. The glasses show their age from the peculiar style of 
the frame, that portion of it containing the glasses working 
on tiny hinges, so they can be shut up or opened out, while 
the remainder of the frame on either side is made in two sec- 
tions, that they may be closed up and put in the case. These 
sections are wide, thin, and flat, sliding in and out like a gold 
pen or pencil from the holder. They are kept in the same 
case which Ney used, but which is now partially destroyed. 
It is made of plain, common pasteboard, and has a piece of 
paper pasted upon it on which is written the single word, 
1 Ney. ' * In speaking of his family, P. S. Ney, according 
to my recollection, told me that his father was a Frenchman 
named Peter, and his mother was a Scotchwoman of the 
Stuart family. In the prominence of his cheeks and the gen- 
eral expression of his face, as well as in his general appear- 
ance, he resembled the Scotch more than the French. He 
spent his leisure hours chiefly in reading and writing. He 
* I have no doubt these were Marshal Ney's glasses, which he had 
often used on the field of battle. 


read the newspapers attentively, and occasionally wrote for 
the National Intelligencer* Washington City, and for the 
Carolina Watchman, published at Salisbury, N. C. It was 
his custom to sit up very late at night, only sleeping from 
four to six hours in the twenty-four. He said that was a 
habit contracted in camp while in the army. He was a great 
admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte, and always spoke of him in 
terms of the highest admiration. It was evident to every one 
who knew Mr. Ney that he was a man of genius, and must 
have been a soldier of the highest rank. It was generally 
believed by those who knew him best that he was Marshal 
Ney. I have studied the subject in all its bearings for upward 
of forty years, and I repeat my conviction, long since enter- 
tained, that he was the great marshal of France." 

Mrs. Mary C. Dalton,* Houston ville, Iredell County, N. C. 
(1885) : " . . . Most of the facts related in the testimony of 
my brother, Colonel Houston, are well known to me, and I 
need not repeat them. His description of the person, char- 
acter, habits, etc., of P. S. Ney is very accurate. Perhaps 
I knew Mr. Ney as well as any person in this country. I 
had every opportunity to learn his real worth, and I assure 
you that I never knew any person who was governed by 
higher principles, who possessed more sterling merit in every 
relation of life. There was nothing dishonest, low, little, or 
vulgar about him. He sometimes offended people by his 
abrupt manner and his plainness of speech on all subjects, but 
he never failed to apologize and make full reparation for any 
wrong that he may have done. He was a giant intellectually ; 
could master any subject that was brought to his attention. 
On one occasion Judge Pearson said to me : ' Nature has 
done much for Mr. Ney ; he possesses a very clear and vigor- 
ous mind, but I do not believe he is Marshal Ney.' Some 
years afterward, when Judge Pearson had become better ac- 
quainted with Mr. Ney, he said to me in substance : ' I have 
made a special study of your friend, Peter S. Ney. He is 
one of the strongest-minded men I have ever met, he has all 

* A portion of Mrs. Dalton 's testimony has already been given. 


the qualities ascribed to the great marshal, and the resem- 
blance is so striking in other respects that in spite of history 
I cannot doubt that he is Marshal Ney himself.' I have 
often heard Mr. Ney speak of his mother seldom alluded to 
his father ; he seemed to think that his mother was perfect. 
He said that he was not a native Frenchman ; pointed out in 
Cummings' atlas the place (Lorraine) where he was born ; said he 
had to change his name after coming over here, but hexjould 
not give up the name of Ney. One day, about dark, a stranger 
rode up to our gate and asked father if he could stop with 
him that night. We had a good deal of company at the 
time, and every room was occupied. My father told him 
that he was sorry he could not accommodate him, but the 
young man insisted, and said he was willing to sleep on the 
floor, and that his horse being tired and completely worn out, 
he could go no farther. My father then told him that if he 
could suit himself to circumstances he would be glad to have 
him remain. The stranger, a fine-looking man, thanked him 
and went in. When he was conducted into supper he took a 
seat at the table opposite Mr. Ney, who was occupying his 
usual seat on the left hand of my father. They glanced at 
each other, and though not a word was spoken, it was evident 
to all present that it was a glance of recognition. My mother 
said a sign passed between them. Immediately after tea Mr. 
Ney and the stranger, taking their hats, left the house to- 
gether, and were not seen by the family any more that night. 
An old negro man (Frederick) reported that he saw them near 
midnight sitting behind a straw stack in the field, in close 
conversation, and, although unobserved by them, could hear 
them distinctly, but could not understand a word they said. 
The stranger ordered his horse very early the next morning, 
and left. He gave no information about himself, except in 
a general way. After the man had gone Mr. Ney went to 
his room and remained in it all that day, reading and writ- 
ing. He never made any allusion to the matter, and we had 
too much respect for him to question him about it. The 
stranger had black hair, black eyes, and a dark complexion. 
This incident happened, I think, in 1834 or 1835. Mr. 


Ney said lie had been recognized as Marshal Ney in South 
Carolina, and that he came to North Carolina to escape fur- 
ther recognition. He went to Mocksville, perhaps in 1822, 
for I first saw him in 1823 or 1824. He avoided strangers. 
His fear of an assassin never left him, though he was as brave 
and intrepid as any one possibly could be. He said he must 
protect his friends in France who had aided in his escape. 
He sometimes, not often, drank to excess. When he was in 
trouble on account of any bad news which he had received, 
he would drink more freely than at other times. When in- 
toxicated he would tell any one that he was Marshal Ney, but 
at other times he would not talk on the subject of his identity 
with Marshal Ney, except to his intimate friends, and not 
often to them. He would not permit them to introduce the 
subject, or to question him too freely. He was greatly at- 
tached to his friends. He would do anything for them. In 
the home circle he was as tender and thoughtful as a woman. 
He gave us no trouble or inconvenience of any kind, even 
when under the influence of liquor. Sometimes he would not 
get drunk for an entire session. He did a great deal of good 
in the neighborhood ; gave many poor children their tuition 
free, and encouraged them to persevere in their studies after 
they had left school. So sincere, so sympathizing, so straight- 
forward in all that he did, he was greatly beloved, not only 
by his pupils (who venerated him), but by all persons who 
came within the circle of his influence. I have heard him 
speak of his wife and children ; said his wife was a beautiful 
woman, and had dark eyes and long black hair* so long that 
she could sit on it ; said he had four children ; used to tell the 
girls about his boys never heard him say that he had any 
daughters ; gave the names of his boys, but I don't recollect 
them. One day father asked him why he did not bring his 
wife to America. He said he had several reasons : one was 

* Madame Ney had dark eyes, and it is probable she had dark hair. 

" The softness and benevolence of Madame Ney's smile, together with 
the intelligent expression of her large dark eyes, rendered her a very 
beautiful woman, and her lively manners and accomplishments enhanced 
her personal graces. I was not a little delighted to meet this charming 
person at Boulogne." " Memoirs of Napoleon." DUCHESS D'ABRANTES. 


it would be found out where he was, and it would be danger- 
ous for his wife to come over here. Besides he lived in con- 
stant expectation of going back to France. After the death 
of Napoleon's son, however, he seldom spoke of going back, 
and in 1836 he seemed to have lost all hope of ever returning 
to his native country. This is shown by a piece of poetry 
which he wrote in my album, dated May 26th, 1836.* He 
told me that he helped to bring Napoleon back from Elba ; 
was in the plot before Napoleon left Elba. He did not regret 
it. The people wanted Napoleon, and the people ought to 
rule. Father had a fearful time with him for a week when 
Louis Philippe was placed on the throne of France ; sat up 
with him ; was sick and delirious a great part of the time ; 
drew plans of battles ; showed father the scars on his person 
received in battle. Some of the scars he said were made by 
his own cavalry. When he fell they ran over him. Have 
heard him speak of the fine horse he rode on the night of his 
escape. I think he said he rode eighty miles before sunrise 
the next morning. Did not like Lafayette ; said he was a 
base ingrate, a traitor to Napoleon and France. Spoke often 
of Josephine and Hortense. His wife and Queen Hortense 
were great friends. Blamed Napoleon for divorcing Jose- 
phine the beginning of all his troubles. Said the Austrian 
woman (Marie Louise) ruined Napoleon, and that she was, 
for political reasons, accessory to young Napoleon's death. 
Didn't tell me how he knew this. Told my mother, in 1830, 
that he saw his son in Virginia in 1828 or 1829. Taught 
school in Mecklenburg County, Ya., in 1828-29. The news- 
papers stated that one of Ney's sons was in this part of the 
country in 1828.f In 1830 or 1831 Mr. Ney said, ' My sight 

* The verses are given in the documentary evidence. 

Some one had written in Mrs. Dalton's album a piece of poetry on the 
transitoriness of all earthly things. In the sixth stanza occurs the follow- 
ing line, " Gone, with their glories gone." Mr. Ney took this line as a 
kind of text. At the end of it he drew a hand with the index-finger point- 
ing to the opposite page upon which he wrote his verses. 

f This is true. See New York Evening Post of November 15th, 1828. 
In April, 1828, General Lafayette wrote to a friend in New England that 
Count Eugene Ney, son of the unfortunate Marshal Ney, would soon visit 

ExpertExaminer of Questioned Hand-Writing, Inks and Paper, 


fjfyw York City, April $th, 1895. 


No. 2 Bible House. 

'Dear Sir: I have made a careful analysis of the alleged 
handwritings of Marshal Ney and P. S. Ney contained in the 
eight pages of original writings which you submitted to me. 
As the result of said examination I am of the opinion that the 
writer of the specimens on the four pages purporting to be 
those of Marshal Ney and the writer of the specimens on the 
four pages purporting to be those of P. S. Ney, are one and 
the same person ; the variations of hand being largely due to 
style of pen used, the quill, gold and steel being all represented, 
which produces the different quality of line without hiding away 
the idiosyncracies of the writer. 

Very respectfully, 



never failed me until I was sixty years old.' He was then 
wearing glasses. I have his first pair. He said no letters 
from abroad were sent directly to him, but were sent through 
a man in this country. I don't think he mentioned his name. 
Blamed Grouchy severely for not coming to Waterloo. Mr. 
Ney had a strong, guttural voice. He pronounced Grouchy's 
name in a very peculiar manner Ge-7w-shy. He borrowed 
Scott's life of Napoleon from a lady in the neighborhood 
(Mrs. Young), and when he returned it, it was full of marginal 
notes. Mrs. Young said, ' Why, the man has ruined my 
book. ' I read some of the notes, and I remember that ex- 
pressions like these frequently occurred : ' That is not true ; ' 
* This is a vile slander,' etc. The book, I believe, is now 
owned by William Young, of Georgia.* Mr. Ney told father 
he was sorry he burnt his papers when young Napoleon died ; 
was at a loss for dates in re-writing his history. Blamed 
Napoleon for his Russian expedition. His description of the 
horrors of the retreat was awful. Had money in the United 
States Bank. 1 once saw a letter which he wrote to Nicholas 
Biddle. He asked father what he should do with his money 
when the bank failed. I think he had $10,000 in the bank. 
Said he had no use for it intended to send it back to France. 
He would reprove his pupils sharply for wasting bread, fruit, 
etc. He said, ' You may come to want, and it is wrong in 
principle. In the army 1 was oftentimes thankful for a crust 
of bread.' I well remember the incident to which my brother 
refers (the intoxication of Ney by the roadside, etc.). It 
made a deep impression on my mind. Mr. Ney combed his 
hair so as to hide the scar on the left side of his head. He 
was careful to keep it covered. His head was very large and 
roundish oval ; did not run up to a point. He said he was five 
feet eleven inches high when he was a young man, but that 
old age had settled him down half an inch. He never slept 
more than five hours out of the twenty-four. Burned out a 

the United States. The original letter is now owned by Mr. Warren C. 
Crane, of New York City. 

* I am very sorry to say this book can nowhere be found. It is prob- 
ably lost. 


candle every night. Some persons said Mr. Ney was an in- 
fidel, but he was not. He detested hypocrisy in all its forms, 
but no man ever had a higher respect for the Christian religion 
and the pure worship of Almighty God." 

Colonel Junius B. Wheeler, U. S. Army (1884) : " I knew 
Peter S. Ney. He was thick set, and had a massive head. 
His speech was guttural. He had a large scar on the left side 
of his head. He drank whiskey, and was a great tobacco- 
chewer. He told me once that he was Marshal Ney, and how 
he escaped. He said the officer in charge of the troops had 
served under him in the Napoleonic wars 1 think he said he 
was his aide-de-camp. This officer told him that he would 
not be hurt ; that he must fall and simulate death. He did 
so, was disguised, and finally escaped to America. I did not 
believe that he was Marshal Ney ; but if the officer of the day 
was really one of his old staff officers, the story is probably 
true. He was a man of decided ability, and everybody re- 
spected him." 

Captain F. M. Eogers, Florence, S. C. (1887) : " I was a 
pupil of Peter S. Ney when he taught at my father's house in 
Darlington County in 1844 or 1845. I was quite small, but I 
have a very clear recollection of him. He was then quite an 
old man, and stooped considerably ; but his eye was still bright, 
his faculties unimpaired, and he appeared to be unusually 
strong and vigorous for one of his age. My father * had a 
very high opinion of Mr. Ney, and was probably acquainted 
with his history, f When asked about the matter, he would 
invariably give an indirect answer, and would change the sub- 
ject as quickly as possible. He corresponded regularly with 

* Colonel Robert Rogers. 

t See testimony of Dr. A. H. Graham. 

A Darlington (S. C.) newspaper says : " In 1842 or 1843 an old French- 
man was engaged as teacher in the family of Mr. Robert Rogers, of 
Darlington, in this State. Several circumstances conclusively prove that 
this old man was Napoleon's favorite marshal . . . and . . . Rogers, 
when he . . . us something ab . . . man." The name and date of 
the newspaper and a portion of the extract (indicated by the blank spaces) 
have been torn off. Mr. Robert Rogers was " probably acquainted with 
P, S. Ney 's history." 


Mr. Ney until the time of his death in 1846. Some time after 
Mr. Ney's death a man named Pliny Miles wrote to my 
father, making certain inquiries about Mr. Ney in the interest 
of some historical society in New York. My father sent Mr. 
Ney's letters to Mr. Miles, and they were never returned. 
One day when my father was absent my mother said she in- 
tended to find out who Mr. Ney was. So at the dinner-table 
she asked Mr. Ney one or two questions, with this object in 
view. Mr. Ney smiled and said, ' Mrs. Rogers, your dinner 
is good, very good ; ' but he did not answer her questions sat- 
isfactorily. My father owned a little negro boy, very spright- 
ly and active, who was named Arthur. Mr. Ney taught the 
boy to call himself Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, 
and seemed to take much pleasure in making him repeat this 
name in the presence of others. He always relished the 
joke.* Mr. Ney called Mrs. John A. Eogers, Lady Frances, 
because, as he said, of her queenly appearance. At times, in 
conversation, she looked at him in a way that seemed to re- 
vive unpleasant recollections, for Mr. Ney would say, kindly 
though firmly, c Don't look at me in that way, Lady Frances 
Madame de Stael Madame de Stael. 'f 1 have always heard 
that Mr. Ney landed at Charleston in the early part of 1816, 
and that he afterward went to Georgetown, where, in the 
early fall of 1819, he was recognized as Marshal Ney by a 
party of French refugees. These refugees (according to the 
statement of Chapman Levy, a prominent lawyer of Camden) 
asserted in the most positive terms that this man was Marshal 
Ney, as they had frequently seen the marshal in Paris and 
other places in France. When Mr. Ney heard of these decla- 
rations he left Georgetown and went to Cheraw, where my 
grandfather, Colonel Benjamin Rogers, saw him in the fall of 

* No doubt there was much sly enjoyment in it. 

f Marshal Ney, in all probability, had often seen and conversed with 
Madame de Stael, and it is equally certain that he did not like her. She 
was dictatorial, intriguing, meddlesome, visionary. She hated Napoleon 
and his army, and they hated her. At one time, however (before Napo- 
leon was made emperor), Madame de Stael was very fond of the republi- 
can officers. She frequently entertained them at her own home. In 1815 
she openly blamed Ney for his " treachery to the king." 


1819, and employed him to teach school. He taught about 
three years, and then went to North Carolina. He named the 
residence of Colonel John A. Rogers sans souci, and his 
school-house dans souci. Mr. Key liked Monongahela whis- 
key, and sometimes drank a little too much of it. Notwith- 
standing, he was a good man and a very great man." 

Wallace M. Reinhardt, Lincolnton, N. C. (1890) : " I went 
to school to Peter S. Ney in 1838. He taught at Houston- 
ville, Iredell County. All of his pupils, from the greatest to 
the least, were afraid of him, and yet there wasn't one who 
wouldn't have shed his blood for him. He was very strict 
with his scholars. Two things he especially required abso- 
lute obedience and good lessons. Woe to the boy who dared 
to disobey him, or who came to him with a bad lesson ! He 
didn't have many rules and regulations. He said he wanted 
the boys to govern themselves. He liked to put them on 
their honor. If a boy told an untruth, or imposed upon a 
smaller boy, or did any kind of dishonest or unmanly thing, 
Mr. Ney would be certain to punish him for it ; and some- 
times, if it were a bad case, the punishment would be quite 
severe. His school was of a military cast. Even his very 
small boys were required to take a military posture. A loung- 
ing, stooping boy would be straightened up quickly. The 
sharp, commanding voice of our teacher brought all shoulders 
square to the front. He required neatness in person and 
dress, and perfect order at all recitations. When he got ex- 
cited, his eyes would go clear through you. I couldn't look at 
him. He was a perfect Bengal tiger. He admired Washing- 
ton, but said he ought to have pardoned Major Andre. He 
ought to have shown his greatness by riding over public clamor 
and the crazy desire for retaliation. He had no use for Gen- 
eral Lafayette. One of his pupils was named after Lafayette. 
One day Mr. Ney said to him, ' Lafayette, I am sorry for 
you ; you ought to have another name. Lafayette was not a 
true man. He treated Napoleon shamefully.' In walking, 
he used a very long stick or staff, holding it about five or six 
inches from the end. In the school-room he sometimes walked 
about with his hands crossed behind him. He seemed to be 


fond of me, and often asked me to cut his hair, though there 
was not a great deal to cut. He had a long scar on the left 
side of his head, and he told me one day, while I was cutting 
his hair, how he received it. He said that during the battle 
of Waterloo he happened to come in contact with an English 
officer named Ponsonby I think he said General Ponsonby 
and that in the melee Ponsonby gave him this wound ; but 
that he cut Ponsonby down, and broke his sword in doing so. 
This is my recollection of the matter, and I do not see how I 
can be mistaken. Mr. Ney had other wounds. One was in 
his thigh, caused, he said, by a bayonet ; another in his foot 
or ankle. On one occasion, when we were fencing with corn- 
stalks, my stalk broke and a piece of it flew off and hit Mr. 
Ney on the scar on his head. It brought the blood, but Mr. 
Ney did not get angry. He asked me afterward if I knew 
whose head I had wounded. I said I did not. He then told 
me that I had wounded an old marshal of France. Mr. Ney 
sometimes attended the militia drills. They amused him in a 
quiet way. He said he had a Damascus blade which he could 
bend double ; that a sword was worthless unless you could 
bend it double. One day he broke an officer's sword in try- 
ing to bend it. Pie told the officer he would get him another 
of better temper ; but the officer got mad and wanted to fight. 
' Yery well,' said Mr. Ney, ' you may take a sword, and 1 will 
take a stick.' But the officer backed out, and wouldn't fight 
after all. Mr. Ney would sometimes drink too much whis- 
key, and then he would tell a great deal about himself ; but 
you couldn't get him in the presence of ladies when he was 
drunk. He either talked to the men or shut himself up in his 
room. He of ten said to me, * Young man, don't drink liquor ; 
let it alone. I have troubles that you know nothing of. My 
old body is greatly relieved by stimulants.' He didn't desire 
a large school ; said people sent him too many scholars. The 
fact is, they didn't wish any other teacher. Mr. Ney often 
spoke of his mother, and always with the utmost affection. 
Never heard him speak of his father. On horseback Mr. Ney 
had an easy and commanding appearance. Even the horse 
seemed to feel that he had a master. He would at once prick 


up his ears and move off quickly. Mr. Ney was in many 
ways a public benefactor. His influence for good is felt to 
this day. His old pupils have moulded public opinion in the 
counties where they lived. They have almost uniformly been 
sober, honest, industrious, and useful citizens. There is 
scarcely an exception to this rule." 

Witherspoon Ervin, Morganton, N. C. (1890) : * " Some 
years before my day Peter S. Ney taught school in the 
Brownsville neighborhood of Marlborough County, S. C. My 
older brothers attended this school. One day his mail was 
brought in and delivered to him. He read one of the papers and 
fell to the floor as if struck by a thunderbolt. He was greatly 
depressed, and attempted to commit suicide by cutting his 
throat ; but a surgeon was promptly summoned, sewed up the 
gaping wound, and Ney recovered from the injury. It was 
during this period of convalescence that he employed himself 
in painting in water-colors, from memory alone, a life-size, 
half-length portrait of Napoleon that for many years occupied 
a prominent place in our parlor at home. Comparing it with 
fine steel engravings of Napoleon, I know that it was a won- 
derfully correct likeness. It could only have been produced 
by an artist of uncommon skill. It was lifelike, and full of 
character and expression. The man who painted it must have 
been born with all the natural gifts that are essential to the 
artist, and must have had them developed and trained by care- 
ful cultivation. The portrait had a fascination for me as if it 
were a living thing. I remember, when a mere child, lying 
alone upon the floor in the parlor for hours looking up into 
that wonderful face. 1 have often heard the inquiry made of 
my father as to whether P. S. Ney was indeed the French 
marshal. His opinion was very promptly given that he was 
not ; and I think his mere opinion, as a leading lawyer of the 
State, is entitled to great weight. When the inquiry was 
made of him, he stated that Ney never claimed to be the mar- 
shal except when under the hallucination produced by drink- 
ing, and was seriously offended, when sober, if any one pre- 

* From the Statesville (N. C.) Landmark. 


gained to address him by that title. Another reason assigned 
for his opinion was that Peter S. Ney was a scholar of fine 
literary attainments, while Michael Ney was a rude and uncul- 
tivated soldier, only knowing how to set ( legions in the field.' 
Another objection was that Peter S. Key was a somewhat 
younger man than the marshal was supposed to be. His opin- 
ion, founded on what reason I do not know, was that Peter 
Ney was a nephew of the marshal. My father, Colonel James 
R. Ervin, died in 1836. I then lived with my elder brother, 
Samuel. In 1839, I think, while sitting at a window in the 
parlor, preparing my lesson for the afternoon session at the 
academy, 1 saw my brother coming up to dinner accompanied 
by a tall, soldierly-looking man, of full habit, white locks, 
looking, in spite of his white hair, like a man of unabated 
strength and vigor. I at once leaped to the conclusion, from 
his physiognomy and bearing, that he was a Scotch merchant 
from Charleston. In five or six minutes several young men 
came in to dinner. Every one at the table treated the stranger 
with great deference and respect, and addressed him as mar- 
shal, which I presumed to be his name. He was a man of 
notable presence, whom one passing on the street would turn 
to look at again. As soon as dinner was over I asked my 
brother who his guest, Mr. Marshall, was. ( Why, that was 
Marshal Key ! Why did you not come in and speak to him ? ' 
With the eagerness of a boy to see something of a noted char- 
acter of whom he had heard so much, I ran to overtake the 
party who had just left, when my brother informed me that 
Mr. Key had probably left for a distant point in a neighboring 
county. The young men who had gathered around Key were 
his former pupils, whom he had taught some years previously. 
About this time 1 spent a day with Colonel B. W. William- 
son, a former pupil of Ney, at his pleasant home near Dar- 
lington. The conversation turned upon Key, and when I 
mentioned the fact of his being addressed as marshal, Colonel 
Williamson remarked that I must certainly be mistaken in 
that particular, for it was exceedingly offensive to Ney to have 
that title applied to him except when under the influence of 
drink. The reply to this objection was obvious. It probably 


was true that Ney was under the influence of drink at the time 
referred to, and that I failed to discover it. The inference to 
be drawn from Colonel Williamson's statement is that the 
anger which Ney felt arose from obtruding upon him, when 
sober, the folly he had committed in his moments of intoxica- 
tion in setting up a claim to be other than he was. Upon the 
death of my father his library passed into the hands of my 
brother. In it were many books with marginal notes in the 
characteristic handwriting of P. S. Ney, which, in my estima- 
tion, added much to their value. Sometimes these annota- 
tions were in shorthand, but occasionally in French or in Eng- 
lish, and signed by his name or initials. In a volume of 
Scott's poems is a poem entitled l To Napoleon Bonaparte at 
Waterloo. ' At the word Waterloo is an asterisk, which refers 
the reader to a manuscript poem at the conclusion, occupying 
a page and a half left blank in the old edition. It was in the 
handwriting of Peter S. Ney, and at the close signed with his 
name. I read it over once and hurriedly, not dreaming then 
that it contained evidence as to a fact that might come up for 
discussion. There were probably thirty or forty lines, but 
only the first two remained fixed in my memory : 

" ' Where broken bones and fractured skull 
Had all but ruined this poor hull. ' 

Then followed several other lines of considerable beauty. " 

Hon. H. G. Bunn, Camden, Ark. (September 15th, 1892) : 
" A year ago I was travelling on the cars and made the pass- 
ing acquaintance of a foreigner of reading and intelligence. 
His name has escaped me. He had been in this country ten 
or fifteen years. I think he was a Polish gentleman, but had 
lived in Paris much of his time before coming to this country. 
In some way (as such things will happen) we were led to talk 
of the story of Peter S. Ney. It seemed that he had made 
himself acquainted with the prominent parts of the story. It 
will interest you only to repeat here in substance what he said 
he had heard in Paris or from Paris since he left the city. 

" As I understood him, he said in substance this : In 
1853 or 1854, after Louis Napoleon had become firmly seated 


on the imperial throne of France, a question arose as to the 
integrity of the account of the execution of Marshal Ney. 
This question somehow affected, or was supposed to affect, the 
honor of the Napoleonic or that of the Bourbon house ; I 
could not exactly understand from the narrator how this was. 
Anyway, the story goes that Louis Napoleon became so inter- 
ested in the matter as to appoint a commission to open the 
grave of the long-buried marshal. The story goes on to say 
that no remains were in the decayed coffin, and the evidence 
was that it had never contained anything." 

Vardry A. McBee, Lincolnton, N. C. (1890) : " I was a 
pupil of Peter S. Ney in 1834. There was no man in the 
country who could compare with him as a teacher. He was 
facile princeps. He easily gained the love and confidence of 
his pupils, although he exacted implicit obedience to his com- 
mand, and was in every respect a very strict disciplinarian. 
He was quite a large man, tall, erect, of soldierly bearing, and 
imposing presence. He seemed born to command. All per- 
sons regarded him as a man of superior parts, and he exerted 
a controlling influence wherever he went. No pupil, how- 
ever large, would for a moment think of disobeying his slight- 
est commands. He had a quick temper, and sometimes he 
would get quite vexed with dull and lazy scholars. On such 
occasions he would use the rod with considerable freedom. 
He had a big, round chin, a firm, well-chiselled mouth, large 
nose, ample forehead, and square, heavy jaws that indicated 
the greatest determination. His eyes were of a grayish color, 
sparkling, and unfathomably deep. He looked like a lion. 
His countenance, his walk, his movements, his bearing, his 
general expression and make-up had a decidedly leonine cast. 
Though he would occasionally drink too much, yet this habit 
never injured him in the estimation of those who knew him, 
or, I may say, of the people generally. The great influence 
which he exerted over the community in which he lived was 
of a pure, wholesome, and elevating character. He left be- 
hind him a name of which any one might well feel proud." 

Dr. J. R. B. Adams, Statesville, N. C. (1886) : " I have 
been entirely satisfied in my own mind since 184-2 that P. S. 


, who taught school within a few hundred yards of my 
residence for two years or more, and is now buried in Third 
Creek Churchyard, was the veritable Marshal Ney. I met 
him often, and 1 observed him closely. I never saw a more 
level-headed man, or one with greater force of character. He 
took a plain, practical, common-sense view of everything. 
There was no circumlocution about him. He came directly 
to the point, and expressed his views (which were rarely wrong 
on any subject) with exceeding clearness and power. He de- 
spised shams of all kinds, and denounced them in pretty severe 
terms. There was not the shadow of hypocrisy about the 
man. Everybody felt this, or, with all his strength of mind, 
he could not have exercised the power over the people which 
he did. This was simply marvellous. He was a fine speci- 
men of physical manhood, tall, large, and well proportioned, 
with a manly and majestic bearing. He had a large, broad 
forehead, bulging out considerably about the eyes. The per- 
ceptive faculties were very large. Yery heavy, shaggy eye- 
brows, which gave him a stern and severe-looking countenance, 
especially as his eyes were uncommonly brilliant and piercing. 
They seemed to look clear through you. He was a splendid 
judge of human nature. It didn't take him long to read a 
person's true character. He avoided crowds, sought only the 
best company, and was very quiet and reserved in his general 
demeanor. He did much for the poor, especially poor chil- 
dren. They remember him with deep thankfulness to this 
day. He had no vices except drinking. He scorned every- 
thing that was dishonest or little, though he was pretty abrupt 
in his manners. One evening Mrs. Adams's uncle, the Rev. 
Mr. Hall, held a prayer-meeting at the house at which Mr. 
ISTey boarded. Mr. Hall had a good pair of lungs, and his 
prayers were long and loud. After the meeting was over, 
Mr. Ney had occasion to walk across the room ; and as he 
passed Mr. Hall he said to him in a gruif voice, ' Is your 
Maker deaf ? ' The next morning Mr. Ney apologized to Mr. 
Hall for the language which he had used. He was not only 
just, but he was merciful. Mr. Lewis Williams, a member of 
Congress for many years, offered Mr. Ney a good government 


position in Washington City, but Mr. Key unhesitatingly de- 
clined it. About the year 1842 I met in Alabama a foreigner 
who called himself Colonel Lamanouski (the name may be 
incorrectly spelled). He was making a tour of the Southern 
States, lecturing on Napoleon's campaigns. He told me that 
he was perfectly convinced, from what he had seen and heard 
in France and in this country, that Marshal Ney was not exe- 
cuted. He said that he belonged (I think) to the Polish 
Corps in Napoleon's army, and was well acquainted with Mar- 
shal Ney. He said that if the North Carolina school-teacher 
were Marshal Ney, he could recognize him at a glance. I do 
not think he ever met him. About the year 1840 Rev. J. M. 
Wilson, Professor Hugh E. Hall, and Colonel Thomas A. 
Allison were appointed by the trustees of Davidson College a 
committee to draw up a device for the college seal. At their 
request Mr. Ney assisted them. In a few minutes he pre- 
pared both the device and the legend. These were very ac- 
ceptable to the college authorities, and were at once adopted. * 
Those who knew him longest and best were firmly convinced 
that he was Marshal Ney." 

Thomas Scott Wood, Cleveland, N. C. (1884) : " I knew 
Peter S. Ney ; was a pupil of his for several months. In 
my younger days I was very robust and strong, fond of hunt- 
ing, fishing, boxing, wrestling, etc. Mr. Ney had been in 
the habit of whipping his big bad boys ; and as I knew my 
father expected to send me to school to him, I said publicly 
that Mr. Ney should never whip me. I was about nineteen 
years old. The first day I went to school I took my seat at a 
desk near the door, and put my hat on the desk before me. 
Mr. Ney came to me and said very pleasantly, c Every boy 
has a peg for his hat ; now there is your peg ' pointing to one 
not far from me. ' Always put your hat on that. ' I got up, 
and, dragging my feet behind me, put my hat on the peg. 
Mr. Ney was watching me. The next morning I walked into 
the school -room, took my seat, and placed my hat on the desk 
before me as I had done the day before. Quick as lightning 

* See testimony of Rev. Dr. Rockwell. 


Mr. Ney sprang from his seat and came to me. ' Sir,' said 
he, in a deep, stentorian voice which I can never forget, 
' take that hat and put it on top of the house ! ' I looked up 
and caught his eye that eye. It was flaming, sparkling like 
diamonds. I began to tremble from head to foot. I had no 
strength left in me. Mr. Ney, seeing that he had conquered 
me, changed his tone and manner, and said very kindly, 
f Well, if you don't want to put it on top of the house, put it 
on the door then. ' I looked up at the open door, and saw 
there was a chance to get out of the difficulty. I sprang 
to my feet, and put my hat on the door. It is needless 
to say that Mr. Ney had no further trouble with me. From 
that moment I began to like him, and when I left school he 
had no more devoted friend in the whole country than my- 
self. I do not hesitate to say that he was the greatest man I 
ever knew. One of my neighbors, who had long known Mr. 
Ney, said to me one day, ' Well, if he was not Marshal Ney, 
he ought to have been.' He was a large, handsome man ; 
broad and full-chested, well made, strong, capable of enduring 
any amount of privation or fatigue. He had two wounds that 
I especially remember a long scar on his head, evidently 
made by a sabre, and a deep wound on his arm (I forget 
which one), between the shoulder and elbow. He had a kind 
of double chin, large, round, protruding, and slightly turned 
up. His whole countenance was stamped with an air of un- 
conquerable energy and determination. He ate the simplest 
food ; was very fond of soup ; * would often eat nothing else 
for dinner. The school-room was not very far from his board- 
ing-house, and his landlady would generally send him for din- 
ner a bowl of rich soup, some light bread, and two or three 
large pods of red pepper. He would cut up the red pepper 
into his soup and eat it with great relish. He said the coun- 
try people always threw away the best part of what they called 
a boiled dinner the pot liquor. Mr. Ney died in 1846 at 
the residence of Osborne G. Foard, in this county. There 
was a large attendance at his funeral. The sermon was 

* Soup was the principal dish of the French soldiers. 


preached by the Rev. James Adams, a Presbyterian clergy- 
man. His death produced a profound sensation in the entire 
community. There were many tears shed over his grave. 
Every one felt that our greatest man, and in God's eyes one of 
the best of men, had been taken from us." 

Editor Times, Danville, Ya. (1888) : " Anything relating 
to Peter Ney, whose body was dug up recently in Rowan 
County, N. C., to see if he was the great Marshal Ney, is in- 
teresting. We have a sister who went to school to the said 
Peter in the year 1829. She was then nine years old, and 
boarded at Major Thomas Nelson's, in Mecklenburg County, 
Ya. Mr. Ney, she says, taught school at Abbeyville in an 
old house which had been used as a store a two-story house. 
He had a number of scholars, male and female, and was con- 
sidered a first-rate teacher. He kept a reed stuck in a hole by 
the mantelpiece, which, when occasion required, he would 
pull out and use vigorously on the bad boys. One day the 
little school-girl aforesaid, in company with some of her com- 
panions, ran up into the garret, where the old fellow did his 
painting, and was surprised to see a portrait he had painted of 
Bonaparte. He painted flowers also, and beautifully, and 
made poetry. Saturdays he frequently got drunk, and when 
in that condition he talked about Bonaparte, and said he him- 
self was Marshal Ney. The same little school-girl, now an 
old lady, distinctly remembers his bald head and a long, deep 
cut on the left side. She says, as she stood up by him to say 
her lesson, many a time she felt like putting her finger on the 
scar. Whether Peter Ney was Marshal Ney or not, there is 
something very mysterious about his history." 

General W. W. Harllee, Florence, S. C. (1888) : " About 
the year 1840 I forget the exact date the Governor of 
South Carolina attended a military review of the State troops. 
A great many persons were present, and it was an occasion of 
much interest. The governor invited Peter S. Ney to act as 
an honorary aide-de-carnp. Mr. Ney accepted the invitation, 
and appeared with the governor on the review mounted on a 
magnificent charger, which had been procured for him. I 
think he was without doubt the finest-looking man I ever 


saw. He was well dressed, and his bearing was superb. He 
was every inch the soldier. His military form and carriage, 
his easy, graceful horsemanship, his commanding presence 
attracted every one's attention. Numerous inquiries were 
made about him, and he really attracted more attention than 
the governor himself. ' ' * 

Hon. J. G. Hall, Hickory, K C. : " I have often heard of 
Peter S. Ney. I lived in the county (Iredell) where he taught 
school for several years. People generally looked upon Mr. 
Ney with a sort of awe, and thought that he was privileged to 
drink a little too much. It was a kind of dispensation which 
even the strictest Presbyterians allowed him a concession to 
the man's superiority and greatness." 

Dr. Robert H. Dalton, Los Angeles, Cal. (1870) : " I began 
to practise medicine on the 1st day of May, 1827, in Guilford 
County, N. 0., at a place now called Hillsdale. Some time 
in 1827 or 1828 a gentleman put up at the hotel where I 
boarded, and remained several days. He purported to be on 
his way to Raleigh to confer with the governor of the State 
in relation to writing the history of North Carolina, and we 
understood that he had been engaged to do the work. He 
soon seemed to take to my little office, and was much interest- 
ed in my small new library, composed of a fair selection of 
standard medical books and a few choice historical, literary, 
and poetical works. I shall ever remember a remark he made 
more than once while standing and looking at my books, so 
nicely arranged in the little case : ( A few books well read are 
worth thousands kept to ornament the shelves. Know all in 
these books, young man, and you will be great.' 

* This incident proves that P. S. Ney was highly esteemed by the best 
men in the country. In antebellum days it was a great honor to be an 
aide-de-camp of the Governor of South Carolina. 

When P. S. Ney first came to the United States his motto was, " Fuge 
magna" be modest, be humble, avoid publicity. In the present instance 
the temptation was probably too strong to be resisted. On all other occa- 
sions he seems to have avoided the public eye. In 1846 the year in 
which he died he was invited by a friend to attend the Commencement 
exercises of the State University. His reply was : " No, no, I can't go ; 
obscurity is my splendor." In his private register he wrote, " Who can 
be always watching ?" 


" We soon understood that he was a Frenchman, and that 
his name was Ney, though his language betrayed no brogue, 
but was clear, chaste, and exceedingly fluent. When talking 
with me he spoke feelingly of Baron Larrey, Napoleon's great 
surgeon, and seemed delighted to dwell on his character and 
exploits, relating many incidents and anecdotes which I have 
never seen in print, proving his great intimacy with that great 
man.* On evenings at tea and until bedtime we drew him 
out on subjects involving the history of the French Revolu- 
tion, and it was very evident that no one but an actual partici- 
pant in that wonderful drama could have delineated the facts 
and incidents with such positive clearness and precision ; and 
1 am sure that the bitterest enemy of Napoleon and his cause 
could not have arisen from these discussions with opinions ad- 
verse to his honor and his merit. He denied that Napoleon 
was a tyrant, but represented him as a providential agent of 
reformation, designed to ameliorate the condition of his people 
by inaugurating free institutions for France, which could not 
be done on account of the selfish interest and jealousy of all 
the crowned heads of Europe, whose very existence depended 
on the maintenance of absolute government for all the na- 
tionalities ; that in defence of these just and holy principles 
he was perpetually assailed by these despotic powers ; and for 
the preservation of his people and their righteous cause he was 
forced to centralize the powers of the nation to repel invasion ; 
and that for these reasons there never was a time when he 
could possibly have carried out his views. Hence the empire, 
with all its semblance of military government. ... He was, 
I think, fully six feet high, neither corpulent nor lean, with a 
florid complexion and auburn hair. His head was large, and 

* Larrey and Ney had much in common. Both were honest, gentle, 
merciful, rough, blunt, candid, self-denying, patriotic, brave, plain, 
practical, strong-minded, persevering, and devoted to duty. They must 
have been great friends. This is evident from Larrey's "Memoirs." 
"Come here," said Larrey to the soldiers who were slightly wounded, 
" or I will cut off your ears." One day he said to Napoleon, with great 
bluntness and boldness, "Let every man attend to his own business." 
Napoleon said at St. Helena that Larrey was the " most virtuous man 
that he had ever known." 



high behind. He wore no beard ; and his face, though hand- 
some, showed what are called weather-beaten marks. He was 
a man of the noblest physique and most commanding appear- 
ance I ever saw. I remember well the scar on his head, but 
I had not the temerity to ask about its cause. In discussing 
the dynasties of Europe in connection with Napoleon, he 
seemed to enter into the very essence of their constitutions, 
and his criticisms made a lasting impression on my mind. 
Taking him altogether, I am sure he was the finest specimen 
of humanity, physically and mentally, I ever knew. If he 
lived till 1854 he must have been very old. I ventured once, 
by way of ascertaining whether he was Marshal Ney or not, 
to ask him if he was related to the family of that name. I 
can never forget his startled look. He gave me an evasive 
answer, which I took as a rebuke for my impertinence. I 
have seen and conversed with many great men, but with none 
greater than Peter Stuart Key." 

Mrs. Sarah Anna (Locke) Campbell, Jerseyville, 111. (1887) : 
" My maiden name was Sarah Anna Locke. I knew Mr. Key 
very well. He often visited my father's house. He was a 
large man, with a dark red face badly pitted from the small- 
pox. His nose was very large not a peaked one. He was a 
swift runner and a fine horseman. When at the house of my 
father (Major John Locke) he would often pull down my long 
back hair and say, sometimes with tears, ' It is just like my 
wife's. ' He often talked about his wife and children. Ac- 
cording to my recollection, he said he had three sons, and 
that his wife was living. He was very kind-hearted too 
much so, indeed, for his own good. When he had more 
trouble than he could bear he would take to drinking sprees. 
He had no use, however, for any but the best people, and was 
highly respected." 

Mrs. B. G. Worth, Wilmington, N. C. (1887) : " My 
grandfather, Judge Archibald D. Murphey, believed that 
Peter S. Ney was Marshal Ney. He taught school in Judge 
Murphey's family, and my mother was greatly attached to 
him. She thought him one of the kindest and best men that 
ever lived. Judge Murphey had the highest opinion of his 


ability and character. He and Mr. Ney were great friends. 
Mr. Ney would sometimes stroke my sister's hair and say, 
4 You look just like my wife, with your dark eyes and your 
long black hair. ' : 

Hon. David L. Swain, President of the University of North 
Carolina (1868) : " I have been familiar with the name and 
handwriting of P. S. Ney (so called) for about forty years. 
General James Cook, a lawyer, who died in Mocks ville, N. C., 
some years since, whom I knew very familiarly, went to school 
to Ney forty years ago and was a firm believer in his marshal- 
ship, and entertained lofty ideas of his abilities and attain- 
ments. More than thirty years ago Judge Murphey employed 
Ney to copy historical manuscripts and tracts. He was a neat 
and ready copyist. Pliny Miles had some manuscripts which 
once belonged to P. S. Ney. I frankly told him that, in my 
opinion, his hero was not Marshal Ney. Mr. Miles seemed 
to be firmly convinced that he was." 

Giles E. Mumford, Mocksville, N. C. (187T) : " I was a 
pupil of Peter S. Ney when he taught one mile north of 
Mocksville in 1832. He always had a full school. At that time 
fifteen or twenty grown young men were going to him. I lived 
in Mocksville, and Mr. Ney got me to bring his mail to him. 
Thomas McNeely (I think) was postmaster. One Monday 
morning I came rather late to school. I found my copy-books 
all ready for writing, and the larger scholars were all out 
studying their lessons. Mr. Ney always allowed the larger 
scholars to do so. He took several newspapers. One was the 
Watchman, printed by II. C. Jones, Salisbury. Mr. Ney 
always read the Watchman first, for he wrote a good deal for 
that paper. If you will see Mr. Bruner, the present editor, 
you may find several pieces from his pen. His signature was 
' O.' When 1 handed Mr. Ney his mail that morning he 
stopped writing and opened the Watchman and commenced 
reading. He always read the poetry and deaths and marriages 
first. As soon as he opened the paper he became deathly 
pale, rose from his desk, walked to the middle of the room, 
threw the paper on the floor, jumped on it with both feet, and 
stamped it to pieces before saying a word. After trampling 



it to atoms, lie said with a perfect tremor, ' Now, damn you, 
lie there ! ' * He then turned to the scholars in the room and 
said, f School is dismissed.' The scholars, not knowing what 
was the matter, for they were all small, commenced gathering 
hat and bonnets, which made so much noise that the larger 
scholars came in and asked Mr. Ney what was the matter. 
< Young Napoleon,' said he, ' is dead, and my hopes are all 
blasted. I can't go back to France.' Mr. Ney commanded 
the greatest respect from his scholars. We all loved him, I 
think, as a father. When the news got to Mocksville, the most 
influential men of the place came up to the schoolhouse and 
tried to get Mr. Ney to continue the school, but he taught no 
more for some weeks." 

James McCulloh, Mocksville, N. C. (1888) : " 1 knew P. S. 
Ney. He came to my father's house one day about the year 
1834 or 1835. His eyes quickly fell on a picture of young 
Napoleon Bonaparte, which was hanging upon the wall. He 
immediately went to it and stood looking at it intently for 
some time. When he turned away his eyes were full of tears. 
' If that boy had lived, ' said he, ' 1 should not be here. ' I 
have the picture now. Young Napoleon appears to be about 
twenty years old, and is quite fine-looking. He is dressed in 
a uniform, with a sword in his hand. Size of picture, about 
14 X 12 inches. Underneath are the words, ' Young Napo- 
leon Bonaparte.' ' 

Rev. E. F. Rockwell, D.D., Iredell County, N. C. (1886) : 
" When Peter S. Ney was living in this part of the country 
say from 1830-42 there was a general belief among all 
classes, especially those who knew him, that he was the cele- 
brated marshal of the First Empire. Indeed, if he was not 
Marshal Ney, it is very difficult to tell who he was, for Peter 
S. Ney bore a striking resemblance to Marshal Ney. It is 

* P. S. Ney was exceedingly careful not to use profane language in the 
presence of his pupils. His usual by- words were, ' ' By Jove !" "By 
the powers !" " Dash your hide !" etc. In the present instance his grief 
was simply overpowering. Mr. Burgess Gaither, who was present when 
Mr. Ney read the announcement of young Napoleon's death, does not 
think he used the profane language attributed to him by Mr. Mumford. 


thought by many persons that the Hon. George Bancroft is in 
Key's secret. The writer of this a few years ago, through a 
friend in New York, addressed a note to him, which was 
.taken to him at his office ; but he did not reply. More re- 
cently a lawyer in New York, Hiram B. Crosby, wrote to him, 
and received the following reply : 

" ' NEWPORT, R. I., October 2, 1877. 

" ' DEAR SIR : On the subject to which you refer in your 
letter of September 6th, I have no information beyond that 
which is open to all the world. I return the document which 
you enclosed to me, and if you yourself take an inte^st in the 
investigation, I am very sorry to be wholly unable to further 
your inquiries. 

" ' I remain, dear sir, 

" ' Very respectfully yours, 


. < 

The * document ' referred to is the copy of a letter to Mr. 
Crosby relative to the Key mystery. Mr. Crosby says that 
Mr. Bancroft's letter is a ' singular one,' and that he is at a 
loss to understand his position unless he is under a pledge of 
secrecy to reveal nothing. He expressed an intention to go 
and see Mr. Bancroft in person.* Mr. Key kept very close 

* Mr. Bancroft's letter is indeed a " singular one." Why did he not say 
plainly that he knew nothing about the subject to which Mr. Crosby and 
Dr. Rockwell referred ? Of course the "information" of which he speaks 
was " open to all the world." No one could deny that. Very diplomatic. 
" I am very sorry to be wholly unable to further your inquiries" mor- 
ally unable. Sir "Walter Scott said on one occasion, " Upon my honor, I 
am not the author of ' Waverley.' " And yet he was. Mr. Bancroft is 
more modest and conscientious than Sir Walter. In 1885 Dr. Draper, of 
the Wisconsin Historical Society, addressed a letter to Mr. Bancroft, in 
which he asked him particularly if he was acquainted with the history of 
Peter S. Ney. Mr. Bancroft replied : " I regret that I can add nothing to 
your present stock of knowledge on the points to which you direct my 
attention." This letter is more " singular" than the first. Fortunately I 
have some information which may throw a good deal of light upon Mr. 
Bancroft's letters. Dr. Bingham, of Mocksville, N. C., says : " My father, 
Lemuel Bingham, who was intimately acquainted with Peter S. Ney, told 
me that he once read a letter which Mr. Bancroft had written to Peter S. 



here when teaching ; corresponded with the National Intelli- 
gencer at Washington ; had a large sum of money to his credit 
in the old United States Bank ; but he never went to any of 
the large cities. He could not bear Murat or Grouchy ; 
blamed Napoleon for the Kussian campaign and for repudiat- 
ing Josephine. She and her daughter Hortense were great 
friends of his wife. His wife, he said, had dark eyes and 
hair, and was very beautiful. He was athletic, with great 
power of command, great fascination and discernment of char- 
acter. When Louis Philippe in 1830 mounted the throne of 
France, he came near cutting his throat. His friends had great 
difficulty in quieting him. They had a worse time of it still 
when young Bonaparte died in 1832. He was greatly attached 
to Mr. Houston, who had more influence over him than any one 
else. The manuscripts which P. S. Key said contained some- 
thing which would astonish the world ' were carried off by Pliny 
Miles, of New York, under the plea of taking them to Europe 
to be translated, and were never returned. The stenography was 
Ney's own system, and his pupils here alone understood it. No 
doubt Miles was employed by some one to suppress these docu- 
ments. Mr. Crosby searched and found where he had lived, but 
he died, and left nothing no property or manuscripts.* Some 
time after Mr. Ney came to this country he was at Darlington, 
S. C., at a hotel, on a cold day, seated by the fire, partly in- 
toxicated. A stranger was present who had travelled exten- 
sively, and told the company some things he had seen. He had 
been at the grave of Marshal Ney. Our Mr. Ney roused up 
and said, ( You may have been there, but Ney was not there. ' 
On anoljhgijfflpcasion P. S. Ney said that Ney's bones could 
not jje f qain^ op; the soil of France. I have heard that P. S. 
Ne^f b^0ke ftis\'^vord when young Napoleon died, but I for- 
get-.the na^ii^e *<K my informant. It was also reported that 
some ($ bi ,'l^ft^rs came to him through the French consul at 

$ fc * 

Ney, in which he spoke gratefully of some kindness which had been 
shown him either by P. S. Ney himself or by his family in France." 

* Pliny Miles died on the island of Malta in 1865. He left no papers 
bearing upon the Ney controversy. No one knows what became of the 
Ney manuscript. Dr. Rockwell's surmises may be correct 





Norfolk or some other influential personage at Norfolk. This 
is a mere rumor, so far as I know. Mr. Ney is the author of 
the device on the seal of Davidson College : a man's right 
hand grasping a dagger, with the point downward, piercing a 
coiled serpent not far from the head. The hilt of the weapon 
has rising from it a star or flame that casts rays through the 
surrounding space. This is encircled by two rings, between 
which is the legend in Latin, ' Alenda lux ubi orta est lib- 
ertas ' (Light must be sustained where liberty arose), alluding, 
we suppose, to the Mecklenburg declaration of May 20th, 
1775. But there seems to be an incongruity between the 
radiation of light and the handle of a dagger. It seems to 
have been customary to set valuable jewels in the hilt of such 
weapons. The largest diamond known is called Kohinoor, or 
Mountains of Light, is rose cut, and belongs to Queen Victoria. 
The second or third* in size is called the Pitt diamond. It 
decorated the hilt of the sword of state of the first Napoleon, 
was taken by the Prussians at Waterloo, and now belongs to 
the King of Prussia.* We infer, then, that Mr. Ney, having 
been familiar with the sight of this most brilliant gem in the 
hilt of Napoleon's sword, had it before his mind when he 
drew the device for the seal of Davidson College. I would 
like to have the opinion of some military men about the idea 
of originating and sustaining light from the hilt of a sword." 
Rev. J. L. Gay, Fayette, Mo. (1888) : " In 1827 Peter S. 
Ney taught school in Iredell County, about twenty miles from 
Salisbury. I was one of his pupils, and I remember him well. 
He had some hair at the back and on each side of his head, 
which was of a reddish or sandy color, though it was then 

* It is now owned by Sir William Fraser, of London. It has " jewels set 
in the upper part." 

After Eylau, Napoleon attended a special service at Notre Dame to give 
thanks for his victory, etc. Pasquier (" Memoirs") says : " A sword glit- 
tering with precious stones was at his side, and the famous diamond called 
the Regent formed its pommel." 

There are two or three statues of Napoleon in Paris where he is repre- 
sented as grasping with his right hand the hilt of a dagger or short 
(Roman) sword. The weapon is held in a perpendicular position, the point 
being downward. 


turning gray. His lower face was striking : the heavy jaws, 
the firmly set mouth, the prominent double chin gave him an 
air of the most determined resolution. He did not look like a 
Frenchman ; had a Saxon or Scottish-Saxon look. Spoke 
English well, though you could detect a foreign accent. Was 
fond of music ; had concerts in his school. He wore a long 
bluish-gray broadcloth surtout cut in the old-fashioned transi- 
tion style that was common in the first quarter of this century. 
On the outside of this coat were capacious pockets shielded 
with large flaps. His shoes were broad of sole, buckled, and 
always neatly polished. There were no lapels to his coat, and 
the skirts of it nearly touched his feet. His fame as a peda- 
gogue had preceded him. He had taught school at two or 
three places in North Carolina before he came to my neigh- 
borhood. Everywhere we heard that he* was a great teacher. 
Although I had earlier teachers two or three for short terms 
yet P. S. Key was the first who really taught me anything 
worth knowing, or who started me out on the road leading to 
learning. As we had very inferior and imperfect maps, and 
no globes for teaching geography, I remember that Mr. Ney 
directed me to bring him a medium-sized and well-rounded 
pumpkin, and with this he constructed a geographical globe. 
He marked out upon the ribs of it the lines of longitude and 
transversely those of latitude and other lines the equatorial 
and the Arctic and Antarctic lines. In the use of the pen 
and the qualities and powers of numerals he was equally pains- 
taking. He was a dull scholar indeed, or a perverse one, who 
did not learn to write well and did not obtain a fair insight 
into the wonderful powers of numeral figures. And I grate- 
fully remember, too, his sympathetic interest in our plays and 
athletic sports ; how agile he was at an age (approaching sixty) 
when other men are usually oppressed with inertia. He was 
always as ready to help his pupils in their hours of play as in 
those of their study. How kind and gentle he was ! I de- 
light to recall him as he then appeared at our school and in 
the walks and playgrounds around it tall, erect, but slightly 
bending under the weight of years, broad-shouldered, large- 
chested, with a kindly beaming eye, yet blazing up instantly 


when anything unusual awoke him from his repose. His 
whole countenance would at once show the most evident marks 
of his emotion. In this connection I recall his appearance as 
we were marching on the morning of our school exhibition to 
the place the wide piazza in front of Mr. Gracey's house 
where we were to speak our little pieces and perform our 
allotted parts. An improvised country band was gotten to- 
gether, and were playing such airs as they were equal to. 
Simple and primitive as the music was, it had an almost electric 
effect upon our old teacher, for he straightened himself up and 
instantly caught the old military fire and manner of his army 
life. Everybody noticed it, but Mr. Key said nothing about 
it. At that performance I experienced much needed encour- 
agement from the dear old man, for, like most boys, it was 
with me the critical moment of my life. With glad hearts 
we were released from school, saddened only with the thought 
that we would have to part with our dear old master, and 
probably never see him again. One day at school one of the 
older scholars asked him if he were related to Marshal Ney, as 
he had the same name. ( Yes,' he replied, with some show 
of annoyance at the question or the questioner ' yes, some 
connection ' a nephew I think he said and turned away, 
and so abruptly closed the subject. This, with the admission 
that he had been in the Napoleonic wars and had been wound- 
ed in some battle or other, was all that we could get out of 
him. It began indeed to be surmised that he was none other 
than Marshal Ney himself ; but it was only an idle surmise, 
that, like thousands of others, was dropped, and so passed out 
of our minds." 

Rev. R. H. Morrison, D.D., formerly President of David- 
son College, North Carolina, Lowesville, N. C. (1885): "I 
knew Peter S. Ney. As far as I could learn, his conduct was 
upright and marked by propriety except when drinking to 
intemperance, and even then he seemed to avoid collision with 
others. There were some points in his behavior so different 
from the ordinary pursuits of men as rendered it difficult to 
account for them. He avoided towns and cities and sought 
schools in the country, and seemed to care for only a bare sup- 


port, when he might, from his talents and attainments, have 
obtained much more profitable positions. He also avoided 
efforts to gain the honors and distinctions in society which 
learning and integrity often prompt men to seek. He evi- 
dently had strong motives to avoid notoriety. He taught 
school in my neighborhood, and one of my sons went to school 
to him. He was a fine scholar and a good teacher. He some- 
times attended my preaching, and gave the most respectful 
attention to the services of the sanctuary, as a courteous gen- 
tleman always does." 

Hon. Victor C. Barringer, N. C. (1887) : " When I saw 
him [P. S. Ney] he was always duly sober, and nobody could 
be more silently polite, less pretentious, or less likely to excite 
remark or notice. Pliny Miles told me he had found a treas- 
ure in the manuscript shorthand of Ney, which he admitted 
he could not read ; but he was sure it was a golden egg." 

P. H. Cain, Felix, Davie County, N. C. (1886) : " I was a 
pupil of P. S. Ney in 1831. He was the grandest of men. 
Saw him in the latter part of 1832. He said, c By Jove ! old 

boy, I came near killing myself since I saw you. The d d 

rascals have poisoned young Napoleon, and my hopes of re- 
turning to France are forever blasted. ' He then spoke of his 
wife and children ; said he once knew what happiness was, 
but that he should never see his family again ; spoke of his 
wife with a good deal of emotion ; had soldiers shot for insult- 
ing or outraging ladies ; gave me and another student lessons 
in loading and shooting shot some himself at our target prac- 
tice ; said he and Napoleon's brother-in-law were equally 
matched in fencing frequently up till ten o'clock at night ; 
that Napoleon made them quit, saying something serious 
might result from it ; said to me and another student at our 
target practice that if we should ever go into the artillery ser- 
vice to keep well behind our guns when firing. He believed 
in early marriages ; said young people as a rule ought to get 
married when they are twenty-one years old, but not before. 
In 1832 Mr. Ney appeared to be sixty-five or seventy years 

Colonel C. C. Graham, Memphis, Tenn. (1885) : " I saw 


P. S. Ney sometimes at county musters. When slightly in- 
toxicated he could handle a company or battalion with great 
skill, showing a fine knowledge of military tactics. ' ' 

J. H. Ennis, editor North Carolina Farmer, Raleigh, 
K C. (October, 1887) : " I knew P. S. Ney in Salisbury, 
N. C. I have often talked with him. He was a man of rare 
intelligence ; could talk well on almost any subject. A man 
of fine common sense. Took a practical view of things. 
Would drink too much sometimes, but was never quarrelsome, 
though very talkative. Appeared to have some great trouble 
on his mind and trying to get rid of it or to avoid thinking of 
it. He appeared to be of Scotch-Irish descent. Eyes rather 
large and extraordinarily searching. Chin very prominent, 
square and curved or stuck up at the end. Nose a little 
hooked at the end ; wings of his nose very broad and full. 
Lips compressed, not sensual-looking. Rather duck-legged, 
though his legs were well suited to his body. He was at all 
times polite and gentlemanly ; there was no letting down in 
his demeanor. He was highly respected by everybody." 

Dr. John A. Allison, Statesville, N. C. (1887) : " I was 
well acquainted with Peter S. Ney. He taught school near 
the residence of my father, Colonel Thomas A. Allison, some 
three or four years, and I was his pupil the greater part of the 
time. He boarded at my father's house, or, rather, he was 
an honored guest, for my father and mother thought so much 
of him that they would never look upon him as a boarder. 
Mr. Ney was about five feet eleven inches in height. He 
was broad and full all the way from the hips up, yet exceed- 
ingly well proportioned. He had a fine head, large and round- 
ish, rather long from forehead to back. Forehead large and 
full, especially near the eyes. Perceptive faculties unusually 
well developed. He had a magnetic eye. He could just 
make you love him and fear him and obey him too. Nose 
large, particularly at the base, arid slightly turned up at the 
end. Lips medium my impression is they were rather thin. 
Considerable distance between his nose and upper lip. Was 
very neat in his person and dress. A fine horseback-rider, 
though he seldom rode a horse. We had a fiery, vicious 


horse that no one seemed to be able to ride. Mr. Ney mount- 
ed him one day and rode him with the utmost ease. Every- 
body was astonished at his horsemanship. A splendid marks- 
man. He sometimes went out hunting with me. I never saw 
him miss a squirrel. He would hit him every time. Every 
pupil who studied hard was a favorite of Mr. Ney, but the 
bad, idle boys were pretty severely dealt with. Still, they all 
loved their teacher. The best fencer, perhaps, in the whole 
country. His skill was perfectly marvellous. I have seen 
splendid swordsmen stand in front of him and try to hit him, 
but they couldn't touch him. He would play with them as if 
they were little babies. When he became tired of the fun he 
would tap them on the side of the head and say it was time to 
stop. One day near the barn he picked up two large corn- 
stalks, and handing one to me, said, i Now we'll fence a lit- 
tle.' We went at it, but it so happened that his corn-stalk 
broke all to pieces ; then I managed to hit him a pretty good 
lick, but I was badly frightened. I thought he would get 
mad, but he didn't. He patted me on the head and said it 
was all right. One day, in the winter of 1840 or 1841, Mr. 
Ney went to Statesville and stayed away three or four days. 
He seldom went to town, and we were uneasy about him. 
He finally came back intoxicated, and told my mother that he 
had been with his son in Statesville. Upon inquiry we found 
that a young man, evidently a foreigner, well dressed and of 
good appearance, had been in Statesville for some days past, 
and that he and Mr. Ney had been constant companions. The 
young man was very quiet and reserved, and did not tell any 
one who he was or what was his business. Mr. Ney kept per- 
fectly sober while the man was with him, but as soon as he 
left he got drunk. He went home, burned up some papers, 
and was greatly depressed for several days. Mr. Ney had an 
old hair trunk, in which he kept his papers written in short- 
hand, paintings, drawings, etc. I used to get a glance at them 
sometimes, though he always kept his trunk locked. He had 
another trunk which contained his clothing, etc. He was not 
so particular about this one. My father thought Ney had a 
sword in his hair trunk. I heard Milus Bailey say that Mr. 


Ney told him some time in the thirties that he was Marshal 
Ney. Bailey had somewhere procured a picture of Ney's 
execution. He showed it to Mr. Ney. Mr. Ney said, ' That 
is not correct. The positions are wrong, etc.* Some day I'll 
draw it for you. Ney was not shot. I felt safe as soon as I 
knew that the old soldiers composed the firing party.' I 
knew Barr, the German, who recognized Mr. Ney as Marshal 
Ney at a public gathering not far from Statesville. f Barr 
was an old soldier, covered with wounds, and would fight in a 
minute if any one doubted his word. He was a thoroughly 
reliable man, a real stanch, honest old fellow. Mr. Ney 
walked rather quickly, but with firm military tread ; he in- 
fused into his pupils a military spirit ; said it would not hurt 
them, and might be of great benefit to them in after life. He 
had his bywords, such as t By Jove ! ' ' Dash your skin of 
you ! ' sometimes c God dash your skin of you ! ' He did very 
little square cursing, only when he got mad. He was very 
particular with his boys in this respect. In combing his hair 
he always turned it up over his ears and the top of his head. He 
had a wound on the left side of his head, made, I suppose, by 
a sabre stroke ; also one in his foot. He said to me one day, 
* I was in a tight place when I got that wound in my foot. ' 
He made a great point of promptness and punctuality at home 
and in the school-room. Never late at breakfast ; a very early 
riser, though he sat up late at night reading and writing. His 
mind was as clear as a sunbeam. He could explain a subject 
better than any man I ever knew. He was very useful in the 
neighborhood. He wrote deeds, wills, and other documents 
for the neighbors, told them how to doctor their horses, how 
to build bridges, dykes, embankments, flood-gates, etc. With- 
out doubt he was one of the greatest men that have ever lived 
in this part of the country. My father was firmly convinced 
that he was Marshal Ney, and so were the most intelligent 
people of this section. ' ' 

William M. Haynes, St. Louis, Mo. (1887) : " I went to 

* This is no doubt true. The common representations of Ney's execu- 
tion (see Abbott's " Napoleon") are notoriously inaccurate. 
, f See testimony of Mr. William Sidney Stevenson. 


school to P. S. Ney when he taught at Colonel Allison's, not 
far from Statesville. I was but a boy at the time, but he 
made a lasting impression on my mind. When under the 
influence of strong drink he was perfectly harmless and very 
liberal. He would thrust his hand in his large vest-pocket 
and take out a handful of small silver coin and scatter it broad- 
cast before the boys. It greatly amused him to see them 
scramble after it. I never heard him use profane or indecent 
language. When sober he would not refer to his past life (except 
in some of his poetry), but would occasionally speak about it 
when partially intoxicated. When not especially engaged in. 
school duties he seemed to be engrossed in deep thought." 

W. H. Trott, Newton, 1ST. C. (1890) : " I went to school 
to P. S. Ney. He walked quickly, and took tolerably short 
steps. High, full forehead, especially near the eyes. Eye- 
brows beetling, so heavy and projecting as partly to hide his 
eyes when he looked at you. Eyes keen beyond description. 
Yery strict as a teacher, but good-natured and obliging. Con- 
ducted his school in a sort of military style. Everybody had 
to toe the mark. Sometimes called the boys pet names 
called Fred Leinster Duke or Dunk.* He looked somewhat 
like Judge Armfield,f though Armfield would run quicker 
than Key. Armfield is a brave man and wouldn't run, but 
he would run quicker than Ney. Xey was a perfect bull-dog 
never let go his hold. Ruled everybody. 1 never saw any 
one like him." 

Mrs. Hall, Newton, K C. (December, 1891) : " I was ac- 
quainted with Peter S. Ney. He was a very large man, 
weighing, I suppose, about two hundred pounds. His eyes 
were keen and sparkling. His nose was broad at the base 
and slightly turned up, or appeared to be so. He was very 
kind-hearted. He once gave me a pair of fine gloves, and 

* See testimony of Frederick Leinster. 

f Hon. R. F. Armfield, a judge of the Superior Court, Statesville, N. C. 
Judge Armfield is a large man, of fine presence, great force of character, 
and one of the ablest lawyers in the United States. Mrs. Dalton thinks 
P. S. Key looked a little like Judge Armfield. So does Mr. William Sid- 
ney Stevenson. 


would have given me a more costly present if I had consented 
to accept it. One day he went with a party of girls to hunt 
strawberries. He would pick a handful with great care, and 
then go and put them in the basket. He was very fond of 
children, and they all loved him. I once heard Mr. Ney say 
that some of Napoleon's officers who were condemned to be 
shot escaped by putting on their wives' dresses,* but that he 
could not escape in that way, because his wife was a small wom- 
anf and he was a large man. He possessed great force of 
character, and no man stood higher in the community in 
which he lived." 

Wilfred Turner, Turnersburg, Iredell County, 1ST. C. (1883) : 
" I was a pupil of F. S. Ney in 1825 and 1826, and saw 
him afterward from time to time until his death in 1846. 
In 1825 his hair was getting gray, though you could easily 
see that it was originally of an auburn or reddish-sandy 
color. His head was bald on top, and his face appeared 
to be marked from the small-pox. No pupil, however dull, 
could fail to learn something from him more, doubtless, than 
he could have learned from any other teacher. He applied 
the hickory freely to bad boys, especially to the big bad boys, 
but he was very indulgent to the smaller children, and to all, 
indeed, who were obedient and showed a disposition to study. 
He had a quick temper, but never did any one an intentional 
wrong. He was too noble for that. If he found out that 
he had wounded any person's feelings, he would seek him out 
and apologize. He did much good in our community. ' ' 

Frederick Leinster, Statesville, K C. (1884) : " I went to 
school to Peter S. Ney in 1846. He used to call me duke, 
because my name was Leinster ; said he knew the Duke of 
Leinster, and didn't like him ; once had a difficulty with 
him. It seems to me he said the Duke of Leinster gave him 
that cut on the head. I know he said he didn't like him, and 
that there had been some trouble between them. He used to 
pet me at times. We boarded at the same house. One of his 

* Notably Lavalette. He probably meant him. 

f " Madame Ney was tall and slight." "Memoirs of Madame de 


scholars had been to school to Bishop Ives, at Valle Crucis, 
and was very much stuck up thought he knew about as much 
as Mr. ~Ney. One day, in reciting his Latin lesson, Mr. Ney 
stopped him and said, f That translation is not correct.' 
'Well,' said the boy impatiently, ' that is the way they 
taught me at Yalle Crucis. ' ' Did they ? ' said Mr. Ney ; 
' we want no dog Latin here. ' He then gave the boy a few 
good raps with his hickory switch. We heard no more of 
Yalle Crucis." 

Joseph Barber, Cleveland, N. C. (1887) : " I was a pupil of 
P. S. Ney. He carried on his school in military style. Made 
his pupils, when spelling, stand with their feet together, toes 
turned out, hands down, perfectly erect. On one occasion 1 
was a little perverse I stood with my feet a considerable dis- 
tance apart. Mr. ISTey came along and put his big foot on 
mine and mashed it pretty hard. I did not forget the lesson. 
His scholars thought he was the greatest man on earth. My 
sister fairly worshipped him. ' ' 

Joseph McKnight, Hickory, 1ST. C. (1886) : " I have often 
seen Peter S. Ney. He looked like a soldier, and seemed born 
to command. He had a deep, powerful voice, which carried 
much force with it. Large ears, stood off somewhat from his 
head. His head was tremendous, but it just suited his body. 
Rather fat underneath the chin, which was very large. He 
kept the strictest order in his school. Sometimes the parents 
of his pupils would visit him, but if they began to talk or 
whisper in ever so low a tone he would check them, it mat- 
tered not who they were. Discipline, he said, had to be 

Mr. James Andrews, Houstonville, Iredell County, N. C. 
(1883) : "I knew P. S. Ney for many years. I owned a mill 
not far from the place where he boarded when he taught 
school in this part of the country, and he used often to come 
to the mill as well as to my house and have pleasant and 
familiar talks with me. One day, in my mill, he took up a 
handful of wheat out of a hogshead which contained two or 
three bushels of the grain, and turning to me, said, c Jeemes, 
if a man had had this much wheat in the Russian campaign, 


it would have been worth a fortune to him. Men were starv- 
ing on every hand, and those that were able would mortgage 
whole estates and give everything they had for a loaf of bread.' 
He has told me a great deal about his army life, but I cannot 
remember all that he said. He spoke of the great sufferings 
which his men endured, and that seemed to hurt him more 
than anything else. He said that in crossing a certain river 
1 forget the name * so many men were killed or wounded 
or drowned that they almost formed a bridge over which the 
others could walk. He blamed Napoleon for dividing his 
army, when the retreat began, into so many separate columns, 
with two or three days' march between them. He said that 
it was perfectly ruinous ; that the whole army ought to have 
retreated in one compact body, and to have fought its way 
directly through. He said that in doing so the army would 
have encountered many difficulties, but that there were many 
more difficulties in the other plan of marching in separate col- 
umns. He said that he put the stragglers and disbanded men 
between his main body and the Russians, so that the Russians 
might fall on them first, f It was a desperate measure, he 
said, but he had to do it, sometimes at the point of the bayo- 
net. A Russian woman and her daughter came to him one 
day and swore that one of his officers had committed rape 
upon the daughter the night before. The officer was tried 
and sentenced to be shot. He afterward found out that the 
accusation was false ; that it was gotten up by a man who 
wanted the officer's place, and he had him court-martialed and 
shot. Discipline, he said, had to be preserved. In speaking 

* The Beresina, I suppose hardly the Dnieper. 

f " The enemy opened upon them with the whole of his artillery. The 
disarmed stragglers, of whom there were still between three and four thou- 
sand, took the alarm. This disorderly multitude wandered to and fro, 
running about in utter uncertainty, and attempted to throw themselves 
into the ranks of the soldiers, who drove them back. Ney contrived to 
keep them between Mm and the Russians, whose fire was principally ab- 
sorbed by these useless beings. While the marshal was making a rampart 
of these poor wretches to cover his right flank, he regained the banks of 
the Dnieper, and by that means was enabled to cover his left flank. " 
Segur, " Napoleon's Expedition to Russia." 


of the scarcity of food, he told me one day that even before 
the retreat began many of the soldiers had nothing to eat but 
a little parched wheat. He told me more than once, when he 
had not tasted a drop of strong drink, that he was Marshal 
Ney, and how he escaped ; how the soldiers fired as he gave 
the command ; how the balls passed over him ; how he was 
taken up and secretly conveyed to some point on the coast, 
where he took passage for America. I well remember the 
sabre cut on his head. He told me, I think, that he received 
it at the battle of Waterloo, in the last charge of the Old 
Guard. The man who wounded him was cut down by one of 
his aids. He saw Lord Wellington and his staff with his spy- 
glass. He was so badly hurt that he was left behind couldn't 
keep up with the army in its retreat.* It always gave him 
pain to speak of Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. It was like 
drawing a rasp over a saw. He had wounds, it seemed to me, 
all over his body. There were prints of horses' hoofs on his 
legs and breast. He had a wound in the fleshy part of his 
arm above the elbow. He told me that the surgeon, Larrey, 
put salt in it. He said that he asked him if that was all he 
was going to do to the wound. ' Yes,' replied the surgeon, 
' I treated the emperor so. ' f Mr. Ney was a great teacher. 
His pupils were devoted to him, though he was strict with 
them, and they advanced rapidly in all their studies. He 
taught them to be obedient to their parents, and honest and 
true and merciful in their dealings with their fellow-men. 
He made an impression upon them which remained through- 
out life. He was a man of feeling heart. He did a great 
deal for the poor, especially the poor children of the neighbor- 
hood. He taught many of them from year to year without 
charging a cent for their tuition. His salary was small. He 

* See Ney's letter to Fouche, Duke of Otranto. 

f " I asked Napoleon if he had not been frequently slightly wounded. 
He replied, ' Several times. ... At Marengo a cannon shot took away 
a piece of the boot of my left leg and a little of the skin,' said he, show- 
ing the mark to me, * but I used no other application to it than a piece of 
linen dipped in salt and water.' " O'Meara's " Napoleon in Exile." 

" In treating General Gammas, I applied over the whole wound linen 
dipped in salt water. "Larrey. 


taught for $200 a year and his board. He had a good deal of 
fun and humor about him, loved a joke, and would sometimes 
take out of his pocket a handful of small change and scatter it 
over the grass to see the boys scramble for it. It appeared to 
amuse him very much. He told me that he could speak the 
English language when he came to this country ; that his 
mother was a Scotchwoman, and taught it to him in his youth. 
I think he said, though I am not certain, that his father went 
to Scotland to escape persecution, and there married a Scotch- 
woman who was related to a Presbyterian clergyman. Her 
maiden name was Stuart, or she was related to some family of 
that name. He dearly loved his wife and children, though I 
do not think he gave me their names. He spoke of them 
often, and said it was sweet to think that some day he should 
see them again and die among his own people. After the 
death of Napoleon's son he gave up all hope of going back to 
France. I felt very sorry for him, for I never saw any one 
grieve so much. I do not think he ever got over it. He told 
me that if it were known in France that he was living in the 
United States, his friends in France, who aided in his escape, 
would suffer severely, and that his own life would be in dan- 
ger, for his enemies would not hesitate to hire some one to 
come over and assassinate him. In teaching, he would not 
allow his pupils to undertake more than they could do. He 
said it was better to know a little well than to have a smatter- 
ing of a great deal. I remember two of his bywords : ' By 
Jove ! ' and ' By the powers ! ' He taught school in several 
places in this part of the country. I don't think he wished 
to remain permanently in any one place. He was braver than 
Julius Caesar or anybody else, in my opinion ; but I think he 
had good reasons for changing about as he did. Mr. Ney was 
not a religious man, though he was a firm believer in the 
Bible. Not long before he died he said to me, ' Jeemes, hold 
on to your religion. It is a good thing to have. Don' t let it 
go. ' I loved Mr. Ney. Indeed, I feel that it is the greatest 
privilege and honor of my life to have known such a man." 

Matthew Brandon, Elmwood, N. C. (1887) : "I was well 
acquainted with Peter S. Ney. Saw him often at the mineral 


s Pnngs, in Lincoln County N r 

often had long talks in his room *% Jlk ^ to me, and We 
8 7 ral b ok s in his room uS read a g^at deal ; 


up ln his trunk s wuch Le gen 

' *as full O f criticismg D ^ the ^e of this book, but 
allowed me to ] oofc through Zx ^ WD tan dwitin ff He 
- not let me ear"? ^ * n 1 occasiot, fi 

not sho t ' l^^ f ^ book, 

-ticent about his hist^ Idl Z^ T 

h.m any q Qestions . fie ^ -Ad not feel at ] ibert to 


head was always clear when T ^ r three ffl nth 8 . 
fond of him, and <}?* * *> % wife was 
grateful for her kinless H attenti n - H e was 
Much consi was 

taught in 


both of body and mind. He never seemed to need any recrea- 
tion or rest, was little affected either by heat or cold, slept lit- 
tle (only about four or five hours during the night), and was 
always ready and in good condition for work. His eyes were 
different from any that I ever saw. When he was in a good 
humor they were very soft and gentle, but when he became 
angry or excited they would change almost with the rapidity 
of lightning and indeed they looked like lightning. At such 
times few men could look at him with composure. You felt 
that he was entire master of the situation. His lips were not 
thin, though they came firmly together ; nose and head large ; 
his hair was turning gray when I first saw him. It must have 
been originally sandy or auburn. He had a florid complexion, 
and his face was marked with the small-pox. As a teacher I 
do not hesitate to say that I have never seen his equal. He 
would explain any question in such a way that no pupil, not 
even the dullest, could fail to understand it. Those who were 
disposed to be idle were properly punished. He made them 
study. He especially insisted upon three things punctuality, 
good lessons, and obedience. If a pupil were punctual, and 
recited good lessons and obeyed him, he would grant him 
almost any favor. He would allow no pupil to impose upon 
or in any way to be unkind to another. I remember an inci- 
dent which will illustrate my meaning. One of the larger 
boys was deeply in love with a beautiful young lady in the 
neighborhood. The lady in question was not disposed to favor 
his suit, and the young man was greatly dejected. The boys 
laughed at him a good deal, and Mr. Ney himself one day teased 
him a little about it ; but seeing that the young fellow was hurt 
by his bantering, quickly desisted. In a little while the boys 
went out into the grove to play. They formed a circle about 
the disconsolate lover, and began to jeer him worse than ever. 
Mr. Ney saw us, and came out quickly to the playground. 1 
can see him now, erect, dignified, his hands crossed behind him 
under his long blue broadcloth coat, his eyes sparkling, with 
a grave and determined face, as fine a specimen of genuine 
manhood as any one ever beheld. ' Boys, ' said he, ' you must 
stop this. It isn't just ; it isn't manly ; it isn't kind to tease 


your playfellow in this way. You must stop it instantly and 
forever. ' It is needless to add that lie was obeyed. Although 
he drank intoxicating liquors, and sometimes to excess, it 
never seemed to have any bad effect upon his boys, or, 1 may 
say, upon the people generally. He was so good and noble 
in every other respect that they were willing to pardon this 
infirmity. He taught hundreds of boys during his stay in 
North Carolina ; and I will venture to say (for I do not speak 
without some knowledge of the subject) that you will find 
few, very few among them who became drunkards, or who 
ever in any way dishonored their teacher. He left an indeli- 
ble impression for good upon the minds and hearts of all his 
pupils. He was a man of most capacious intellect. He 
seemed to be familiar with almost every branch of learning. 
He was a fine linguist, but he was especially expert in mathe- 
matics. It took him but a few moments to see through and 
make plain to others the most intricate problems presented to 
him. He always looked at everything in a practical, matter- 
of-fact light. He said that if a man did not have common 
sense, no mere knowledge of books would amount to any- 
thing. He could handle the sword with incredible skill. In 
the opinion of the best professional fencers, no one in this 
country could begin to equal him. Mr. Ney had an exceed- 
ingly kind heart. Indeed, he was so sympathetic that he 
would sometimes be imposed upon, and his charities would be 
imprudently bestowed. But he didn't care. He said it was 
better to do too much in that direction than to do too little. 
I must say that, in my opinion, a truer, gentler heart never 
beat in the breast of man." 

David Gaither, Newton, N. C. (1886) : " I was a pupil of 
P. S. Ney, I think in the year 1830. No one who knew him 
can possibly forget him. Quick-tempered, cross at times, but 
generally good-natured ; always just. His head was full of 
thought. A great Whig didn't like the Democrats. Some- 
times attended Whig club meetings and made short speeches ; 
but he wasn't much of a success as a public speaker.* Still, 

* " I am no speech-maker." Marshal Ney on his trial. 


what lie did say was to the point, and had great weight with 
those who heard him." 

Major James II. Foote, Dellaplane, K C. (1886) : " In the 
years 1837 and 1838 P. S. Ney was teaching on the farm of 
Captain Placebo Houston, and it was then I was one of his 
students. He was in the employment of that noble circle of 
citizens, Captain P. Houston, Captain John Young, Samuel 
Young, and Colonel Francis Young (who all lived on adjoin- 
ing plantations), and was patronized by the leading men of the 
county. North Carolina at that time afforded no better, no 
more patriotic, high-toned gentlemen in her borders ; and 
among them, honored and loved by all, was our teacher, Peter 
Stuart Ney. Who he was and whence he came we knew only 
from himself. As a teacher none excelled him. Many of his 
older pupils regarded it a degradation to join any other school 
after leaving him. In hearing the recitations, he seldom held 
a book in his hand. He would criticise the military tactics of 
Julius Caesar while the class recited from that author, pointing 
out his mistakes and blunders. His features were well marked, 
and readily gave expression to the passion dominant in his 
mind. His head was very bald, with a broad, elevated fore- 
head, and an eye ah ! what an eye ! He looked as if he 
penetrated the depths of your soul and knew your very 
thoughts. An air of great determination and firmness was 
marked by a prominent chin and resolute countenance. He 
always dressed well, but not fastidiously. He taught his stu- 
dents the art of stenography, and could himself take down a 
discourse verbatim et literatim, while the speaker was deliver- 
ing it. He wrote a beautiful but plain hand, and always with 
a quill pen. I never heard him use profane language. He 
had his bywords, such as ' Dash your skin of you ! ' ' I give 
the lie to that ! ' etc. He had a brogue more like the Scotch, 
I think, than French, and still he was in every sense a 
thorough Frenchman. He claimed, on his mother's side, 
relationship with the Scotch, and always wrote his name Peter 
Stuart, or the initials P. S., which makes me think his mother 
was Scotch and not Irish, as Mr. (Burgess) Gaither thinks.* 
* He could have been related both to the Scotch and the Irish, and this 


Although he followed teaching as i a visible means ' of sup- 
port, he was in no want of funds, for it was known that he 
had credit in the United States Bank at Washington City. 
His price for teaching was only $200 per session of ten 
months, including his board. He spent his money freely, but 
not foolishly ; for no man was more charitable than he. If 
he saw any one, man, woman, or child, in want or distress, he 
would readily divide with them of what means he had in 
hand. He would take the poor boys in his school and charge 
their tuition to himself and have it deducted from his salary. 
His whole deportment was that of the true gentleman. He 
had one fault that many great men have that of drinking at 
times to intoxication ; and when drinking was very communi- 
cative ; when sober he was rather reticent. In 1837 P. S. 
Ney appeared to be about seventy years old. I think he 
sometimes wrote his name P. S. M. Ney. These initials, I 
suppose, stood for Peter Stuart Michael. He often spoke of 
his wife and children ; seemed to have the greatest affection 
for them. He was a great expert with the sword. When he 
was teaching at Mocksville (I believe), a French fencing-mas- 
ter came and proposed to Mr. Ney's pupils to teach them the 
art of fencing. They told him if he would take a tilt with 
their teacher and hit him they would get him up a big class. 
This was agreed to, and Mr. Ney was introduced to him. 
The fencing-master opened his trunk and invited Mr. Ney to 
select his sword. They repaired to the playground, and after 
parrying thrusts for awhile, Ney clave the Frenchman's hat 
in two, just brushing his ear. The professor immediately 
threw down his weapon and said, ' Boys, you have a master ; 
you have no use for me.' I have heard General James Cook, 
who was an eye-witness, relate this incident. He never went 
about large cities ; remained far in the interior of the country, 
and lived in obscurity for some purpose. I do not think he 
could have been a refugee for crime, one so noble in his bear- 
ing, so capable of filling any station in life. Eoyalty sat upon 
his brow, and Genius claimed him for her own. I have no 

is probable. Michael is an Irish name ; and certain features of Ney's 
face, and his temper, rather indicate that he had Irish blood in his veins. 


doubt he was here for some political offence. I was a mere 
lad the first day I went to his school, and was afraid of him. 
He called me to his desk and inquired my name. Taking up 
his pen, and while I stood by his side, he wrote a beautiful 
acrostic on my name, a part of which is as follows : 

" ' Jehovah made thee what thou art, 
A youth of warm and feeling heart ; 
Make, then, thy genius and thy time 
Employ themselves in things sublime. 
Sweet are the musings of the just ; 
Heaven always holds their lives in trust.' 

From that moment he won my heart." 

John A. Butler, County Line, N. C. (1888) : " My father, 
L. Q. C. Butler, was well acquainted with Peter S. Ney. He 
was his pupil for a long time, and thoroughly understood his 
system of stenography. Mr. Ney said to him one day, point- 
ing to a desk which contained his private papers, t In that 
desk is a document written in shorthand. After my death I 
wish you to get it and translate it. There is something in it 
that will astonish the world. ' I have heard my father speak 
of the conversation often. Mr. Key died in November, 1846, 
and my father did not hear of his death until several months 
afterward. He went at once to the residence of Mr. O. G. 
Foard, where Mr. Ney died ; but Mr. Pliny Miles, of the 
New York Historical Society, had already obtained the manu- 
script from Mr. Foard, with the distinct promise that he would 
get it translated and would then return it with the translation 
to Mr. Foard. That promise he failed to fulfil. My father 
always deeply regretted that the manuscript was carried off in 
that way. I have often heard my father speak of Mr. Ney's 
fine personal appearance. . . . He said his lips were rather 
thick, but came evenly together. His hands were fat, tender, 
and freckled. Mr. Ney was a man of great nobility of char- 
acter. There was a man in our neighborhood, said my father, 
that nobody liked. He was selfish and mean. Some one 
asked Mr. Ney to give his opinion of him. * No,' he replied, 
1 1 shall not do it. I have been that man's guest. 1 can't 
put my feet under a man's table and then go off and talk 


about him. ' It is needless to say that my father worshipped 
the man." 

Dr. Peter C. Jurney, Olin, N. C. (1885) : "I was a pupil 
of P. S. Key for several months. He had a very quick and 
excitable temperament. When aroused on any subject, his 
eyes would flash, he would talk rapidly, and his whole coun- 
tenance would quiver with the emotion which he felt. One 
day at school, during the noon recess, a young man named 
Naylor came to the schoolhouse and said to some of the boys 
that he would like to fence with Mr. Ney. One of the boys, 
watching his chance (for Mr. Ney was very approachable at 
times), told him what the young man had said. Mr. Ney, 
who had been walking up and down the schoolhouse, appar- 
ently in deep thought, answered pleasantly that he would be 
glad to fence with Mr. Naylor. When they took their posi- 
tions Mr. Ney noticed that the young man was left-handed. 
He didn't like it. ' Dash it ! ' or ' Dash your hide ! ' said 
Mr. Ney, * you are left-handed. 1 never saw but one man 
that I dreaded, and he was left-handed. He gave me this 
scar or lick on my head,' or words to that effect. But they 
went at it, and the young man proved to be but a baby in Mr. 
Ney's hands. He could not touch Mr. Ney, while Mr. Ney 
could hit him at any time he pleased. ' ' 

Rev. William A. Wood, D.D., Statesville, N. C. (1887) : 
" I knew Peter S. Ney. I was a pupil of his for a consider- 
able time. I was quite young, but I have a very clear and 
distinct recollection of him. Indeed, it would be almost im- 
possible to forget such a man. I may safely say that I never 
knew one with a warmer, truer heart, a stronger mind, or 
more commanding presence. As a teacher it would be diffi- 
cult for any one to equal him, much less surpass him. He 
was painstaking, conscientious, and thorough. He could not 
tolerate superficial work of any kind. He ruled the older 
pupils some of them very wild and reckless at home as 
easily as he ruled the little boy but eight years old. To the 
younger pupils he was exceedingly kind. My health was deli- 
cate, and I sometimes rode to school on horseback, especially 
when the weather was inclement. On such occasions Mr. 


Ney would come out of his log academy and help me off my 
horse with a tenderness and a delicacy which to me was most 
embarrassing. In the evening he helped me on the horse in 
the same gentle way, and was so thoughtful and considerate 
of my comfort that I was glad to get away to hide my blushes 
and perhaps my tears of joy and gratitude. During recess he 
would often take crumbs of bread and throw them to the mice 
which came out timidly from their hiding-places to look for 
something to eat. He would not permit the smallest act of 
injustice or cruelty. When cases of this kind among his 
pupils were reported to him, he would fire up instantly. His 
eyes, so calm and gentle in repose, would flame with passion, 
and the offender would certainly be punished, and sometimes 
with severity. He taught his boys to be truthful, honest, 
manly, generous, merciful. He paid as much attention per- 
haps to the moral as to the mental development of his pupils. 
In this way he accomplished a vast deal of good. Few teach- 
ers, I venture to say, have left so deep, so lasting an impress 
upon the minds and hearts of their pupils as Peter Stuart Ney. 
He had but one vice that of occasionally drinking to excess ; 
but his general conduct was so pure, so honorable, so upright, 
so noble, that every one, from the highest to the lowest, had 
the sincerest respect for him, the fullest confidence in him. 
His oath would have been received in any court of justice as 
quickly and as readily as that of Judge Pearson or Governor 
Morehead. His influence for good in the community where 
he lived can hardly be overestimated. It is felt to this day, 
and will continue to be felt by succeeding generations. One 
day, when I was at Davidson College probably in the year 
1847 1 gaw in the library a book entitled, I think, ( Napo- 
leon and his Marshals.' In that book was a fine engraving of 
Marshal Ney. On the page opposite was a pencil sketch or 
drawing of Marshal Ney which closely resembled the engrav- 
ing in the book, and was also a good likeness of Peter S. Ney. 
Underneath this pencil sketch, in P. S. Ney's handwriting, 
were the words, i By Ney himself. ' I often looked for the 
book afterward, searching diligently through the library, with 
the aid of the librarians, but I could not find it. I can hardly 


doubt that this great man for I must call him great was 
Napoleon's most famous marshal." 

John L. Jetton, Davidson College, N. C. (May 1st, 1893) : 
."I went to school to P. S. Ney in 1846. I remember him 
well. There were some persons in the neighborhood who 
were very anxious to find out who Mr. Ney was. Among 
them was Colonel John H. Wheeler, author of a i History of 
North Carolina.' Colonel Wheeler had a high opinion of Mr. 
ISTey, and often invited him to his house. But Mr. Ney sel- 
dom accepted his invitations. He said one day, ' Mr. Wheeler 
tries to pick me in a gentlemanly way. He asks too many 
questions. I cannot answer them, and sometimes I am em- 
barrassed in his presence.' One day during recess, while we 
were playing shinny, one of the boys was struck on the head 
by the ball and rather seriously hurt. Mr. Ney came out and, 
taking hold of my stick, said, ' I will show you how to strike 
the ball so that it will go near the ground. As he drew back 
his stick to strike, one of the boys on the opposing side, seeing 
his opportunity, took the ball away from Mr. Ney and carried 
it on to the goal. Mr. Ney was delighted. ' That's right,' 
said he ' that's right. ' It is c one of my old tricks. Once, 
while one of my brother officers was getting ready to attack 
the enemy, I charged the enemy with my troops and drove 
him back before the officer could get his troops in motion.' 
I remember the book of which the Rev. Dr. Wood speaks. I 
first saw it, I think, in 1 848. It remained in the library until 
about 1851, and then disappeared. 1 saw it a dozen times or 
more. 1 am quite sure the book was i Napoleon and his Mar- 
shals,' by J. T. Headley.* The drawing was very distinct and 

* Headley's " Napoleon and his Marshals" was published in 1846. The 
Southern Literary Messenger, in its June number (1846), acknowledges the 
receipt from Baker & Scribner, New York, of a " copy of ' Napoleon and 
his Marshals,' by the Rev. J. T. Headley." The work therefore must 
have made its appearance about May 20th. P. S. Ney's school was but a 
short distance from Davidson College. He probably visited the college 
during his summer vacation, and spent much of his time in the large and 
well-equipped libraries of that famous seat of learning. At this time, 
doubtless, P. S. Ney drew the pencil picture to which the Rev. Dr. Wood 
and Mr. Jetton refer. He died in the following November. 


well executed. It looked like the portrait of Ney in the book, 
allowing for age, etc., and was an exact likeness of P. S. Nfcy. 
It was often shown to visitors. Underneath the sketch, as 
Dr. Wood says, P. S. Key had written the words, ' By Ney 
himself. ' I never knew a more honorable man. His word 
was his bond. He would have been believed, either in court 
or out of court, as quickly as any man in North Carolina. 
Mr. Ney couldn't bear an informer or spy. One day some of 
the boys robbed a watermelon patch. The owner was angry, 
and asked Mr. Ney to punish the boys. i I will do so,' said 
he, ' if I can find out who they are.' c One of the scholars,' 
said the man (giving his name), ' knows who they are, but he 
won't tell me.' Mr. Ney asked the boy if he knew who 
the raiders were. 'Yes,' he answered, ( but I can't tell.' 
6 Why ? ' i Because the boys told me they were going to 
take the melons, and I can't betray them. I can't violate 
their confidence.' Mr. Ney's face instantly changed. i You 
are right,' said he, ' perfectly right. I hope all the boys will 
imitate your example. ' : 

Mrs. G. N. Beale, Washington, D. C. : " I knew Peter S. 
Ney ; have often played chess with him near Beattie's 
Ford, N. C. He was very courteous and gentlemanlike, 
though rather brusque in his manners. One day, when 
slightly under the influence of wine, he said to Miss Martha 
Graham, a niece of Governor Graham, ' You look like the 
Duchess of Argyle.' The Grahams were descended from the 
Argyle family. Some years ago I attended an entertainment 
given in this city by a Professor Stoddard. It consisted of a 
series of movable pictures, representing the principal events, 
etc., in the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. When the portrait 
of Marshal Ney appeared upon the canvas I instantly turned 
toward my husband and said, ' There is Peter Ney, the man 
I used to play chess with.' ' Why,' said my husband laugh- 
ing, ' you must be very ancient. You must have been born 
before the flood.' A few moments after this conversation oc- 
curred Professor Stoddard said that the picture which he was 
then exhibiting was that of Marshal Ney, the ' bravest of the 
brave. ' It was a perfect likeness of Peter S. Ney. Colonel 


John H. Wheeler observed Mr. Ney closely, and he was satis- 
fied that he was an officer of high rank in Napoleon's army, 
though he did not think he was Marshal Ney. The only rea- 
son he gave for this opinion was that Marshal Ney was an 
illiterate man, while Peter S. Ney was an accomplished 

Alexander F. Brevard, Machpelah, Lincoln County, N. C. 
(October 28th, 1892) : " I went to school to Peter S. Ney in 
1841, when he taught near Catawba Springs. He walked very 
briskly, especially for a man of his age. Beetling brows, 
very shaggy ; tuft of hair at each inside end, nearest the nose. 
When talking his lips came firmly together. Nose very broad 
at base spread out in folds or curves. He told me he was 
the ' best fencer in the French army with one exception ' pre- 
sumably Murat. One day, when slightly in liquor, he said, 
' Some people say I was educated for a Roman Catholic priest. 
It is a lie. I am the poor old marshal.' Once, when hearing 
a recitation in history, he described by way of illustration the 
battle of Waterloo. It was a magnificent description. The 
old man's eye lighted up, and he appeared truly grand. He 
gave many incidents connected with the battle which were 
deeply interesting to the class. At last, when he came to 
Bliicher's arrival, his voice faltered and his eyes moistened. 
* Bliicher, ' said he, putting his hands to his eyes to conceal 
his emotion c Bliicher ruined everything.' Mr. Ney per- 
mitted the older pupils to study in the grove during school 
hoars, but they had to know their lessons. There could be 
no better teacher, and everybody had the sincerest esteem for 
him, whether he was drunk or sober." 

Colonel George N. Folk, Blackstone, N. C., Judge John 
Gray Bynum, Morganton, N. C., A. W. Hay wood, Raleigh, 
N. C., T. H. Cobb, Asheville, N. C. (1889) : " We have 
often heard Chief Justice Pearson speak of Peter S. Ney. 
He had a very high opinion of his character and his abilities, 
and was firmly convinced that he was Marshal Ney." 

H. H. Helper, Mocksville, N. C.: "I knew Peter S. Ney. 
He talked at all times with a German brogue. Had glitter- 
ing blue-gray eyes, sunk deeply into his head. Face, if I 


may so express myself, both long and round. Was fond of 
music. In speaking of the female sex generally he never 
used the world lady always said woman. He refused to 
ride a horse one day because it was named Wellington. Said 
he prepared himself for teaching English after he came to 
this country. He often said to his pupils : ' Any boy of 
good common sense is capable of mastering any and all 
branches. ' ' ' 

Dr. Bingham, Mocksville, N. C. (1889) :* " . . . I have 
often seen a copy of Labaume's ' Russian Campaign ' which 
contained a great many marginal annotations by P. S. Ney. 
These were very interesting. He would often correct La- 
baume as to matters of fact connected with the retreat, and 
would give fuller information as to other points which he con- 
sidered important, but which were briefly noticed by Labaume. 
The book, I think, was owned by P. S. Ney, and was given 
by him to my father. It was certainly left at my father's 
house, but I do not know who has it now. P. S. Key also 
wrote in this book a piece of poetry on the Moscow fire. My 
father had a very high opinion of Mr. Ney' s ability and gen- 
eral character. He said Mr. Ney looked like a Scotch bishop 
that he was too highly educated for Marshal Ney. In other 
respects he thought he bore a striking resemblance to the great 
French soldier." 

Rev. Basil^ G. Jones, M.D., Kingstree, S. C. (1887) : 
" When I came from Alabama to Davie County, N. C., in 
1829, there was a mysterious person teaching school near 
Mocksville, calling himself Peter Stuart Ney. He was re- 
garded by the literati and everybody else as a finished gentle- 
man and scholar. He seemed to be perfectly at home in any 
branch of learning known in that day. He seemed to under- 
stand well the Scotch, French, Italian, English, Latin, Greek, 
Hebrew, Russian, and Polish languages. He said he could 
read and converse in all of them. He was frequently put to 
test in at least some of them, as Latin, Greek, French, Scotch, 

* A part of Dr. Bingham's testimony has already been given. See testi- 
mony of the Rev. Dr. Rockwell. 


and Hebrew. He was acknowledged by those who professed 
to understand the Hebrew to be a superior Hebraist. 

" Mr. Ney taught at other places. At Mr. Placebo Hous- 
ton's, in Iredell, the Houstons, Youngs, and others, the most 
wealthy and respectable citizens of Iredell County, were his 
pupils ; a part of them are still living. Mr. Ney was a man 
about five feet ten inches high, heavily set, and compactly 
built ; he weighed about one hundred and seventy or one 
hundred and eighty pounds, and was of extraordinary muscu- 
lar development. He had every appearance of a large, rough 
Scottish Highlander, of symmetrical proportions, well adapted 
to energy and endurance, qualities which Mr. JSTey possessed 
in a high degree. He was more adapted to herculean strength 
than to agility. His back was straight, shoulders broad and 
a little stooped, head well balanced, the top bald, the back 
and sides of the head covered with hair once auburn, but 
then a little silvered ; his nose was straight and very large, 
with a massive end ; his mouth large and broad ; lips firm, 
the under apparently a little thicker than the upper ; com- 
plexion florid ; face full and pitted with small-pox ; coun- 
tenance a little down but stern, thoughtful, and intelligent ; 
his eyes not large, but rather brilliant, indicating a strong, 
perceptive, and penetrating intellect. One day Mr. Ney re- 
ceived bad news from France. He said his hopes were de- 
stroyed. He could never go back. He wept like a child, 
and large tears found their way rapidly down his pale cheek. 
While in that condition he could not be trusted alone. He 
was sick, frantic, and almost ungovernable. During this time 
the writer and a few others spent a night with him. I never 
can forget that night. He raved of France, Napoleon, his 
wife and family, Waterloo, Moscow, etc.; called for Phe- 
sinac,* issued his commands, sketched his past history, gave 

* The italics are mine. P. S. Key doubtless said Fezensac, and the wit- 
ness understood him to say PJiesinac. The Duke of Fezensac was for a 
long time Key's loved and honored aide-de-camp, and in the Russian 
retreat he was Key's right arm. Key trusted him as he trusted no other 
officer, and it is but just to say that not even the " bravest of the brave" 
could have accomplished what he did accomplish without the loyal and 


an account of his birth, connection with the family of the 
Stuarts, and his relation to the Bonapartes ; how he came to 
be made a marshal of the Empire ; how the battle of Waterloo 
was planned by Napoleon and his Cabinet, etc. Mr. Ney 
then showed us the wounds or rather scars which he received 
at Waterloo and elsewhere wounds of precisely the kind 
described in history. I was a pupil of Mr. Ney in 1831 
or 1832. Moral courage, firmness of principle, fixedness 
of purpose, strength of nerve, indomitable perseverance, 
honesty and truth, are traits of character which he held in the 
highest admiration. He used to impress these upon us boys 
as essential elements of a man. He told me once how he 
escaped. He said the French people thought Marshal Ney 
was dead, but he was not. He fell by preconcerted arrange- 
ment, as if he were dead ; was taken up, disguised, and finally 
escaped to the United States, the Ancient Fraternity* aiding 
in his escape from the first. I never heard Mr. Ney say what 

hearty co-operation of the Duke of Fezensac. Ney and Fezensac were 
the only men with " thoroughly tempered souls," and it is perfectly clear 
that next to Ney, Fezensac is the hero of the Russian retreat. The 
"Memoirs" of the Duke of Fezensac prove that he almost worshipped 
Ney, and that Ney loved him as a son, and had the very highest opinion 
of his character as a man and his genius as a soldier. 

A short time after the Russian retreat, Ney wrote the following letter 
to the Minister of War : 

" MONSIEUR LE Due : I seize the present moment to inform you how 
highly I appreciate the services which Monsieur de Fezensac has rendered 
the army. This young man has been placed in the most critical circum- 
stances, and in every instance he rose superior to them. I present him to 
you as a veritable French chevalier, and you may henceforth regard him 
as an old colonel." 

Fezensac says : " I have the original letter. Every one must under- 
stand how great a price I attach to such a document." 

In his delirious ravings it was but natural for P. S. Ney (if he were the 
marshal) to fight over his old battles, to " issue his commands," to " call 
for" Fezensac, for so long a time his chief aide-de-camp, and who in the 
Russian retreat, as colonel of the Fourth Regiment, so nobly held up the 
hands of his chief as the savior of the army, of Napoleon, of the Empire. 
Fezensac is a singular name, and it is extremely probable that the wit- 
ness, then but a youth, had never heard of the Duke of Fezensac. 

* The Masons, I presume. 


became of Phesinac. It seems to me he said Phesinac kept 
him from being slain at Waterloo, or protected him in some 
way. His wife, he said, sent him packages he didn't say 
how. One day when he was staying at my home a tremen- 
dous thunderstorm came up. It was about sunset, and the 
storm was the most terrific I ever saw. My father and every 
member of the family were badly frightened. Mr. Ney alone 
appeared calm and undismayed. Presently he rose from his 
seat, and began to walk rather briskly about the room. Then 
we thought he was frightened, but he was not. In a few 
minutes he opened the door, and taking in his hand a stout 
cane, he walked out under the large trees and quietly surveyed 
the storm. Now and then he would raise his stick and wave 
it, as if in the act of fencing. When the storm subsided Mr. 
Ney came back into the house, and said, By Jove, colonel, 
I never saw such sublimity, except at Waterloo ! ' 

George A. Miller, Davie County, K C. (1870) : " I was 
well acquainted with P. S. Ney. From 1833 until his death 
in 1846 our intercourse was as familiar as could be between 
persons of different ages and pursuits. The venerable and 
dignified deportment of Mr. Ney, his imperial air, his great 
learning and unexampled scholarship, his perfect acquaint- 
ance with the Greek and Latin classics, the modern languages, 
and especially the history of the French Revolution and 
every particular in relation to the personal, civil, and military 
career of the great Napoleon these qualities of mind and 
person, united to an impenetrable mystery which clung around 
his own history a mystery which nothing could surprise or 
remove attracted every one like the secret properties of the 
magnet. There was a something about the man which once 
seen seemed to say, ' I dare you to forget me.' It stamped 
itself on the brain in letters never to be blotted out, ' I am 
not looked on the common roll of menS He appeared to 
others what we often heard him say in regard to Napoleon, 
' that he was the only mortal he could never look full in the 
eye.' We have seen Mr. Ney under all circumstances. We 
have seen his courage tested, and his face never blanched and 
his nerves never trembled. We have seen him when the say- 


ing of Horace, f In vino veritas, ' could be best verified. We 
have seen him at midnight, courting and recording the in- 
spiration of the muses. "We have seen him kiss the portrait 
of Josephine while the tears of affection and . . . (lines 
obscured). With the permission of Mr. Foard we examined 
the papers of Mr. Ney soon after his death. We found any 
quantity of poetry and prose on all subjects, but nothing to 
throw light on the object of our search his own life. The 
longest and most labored production of his mind was a history 
of the French Revolution written in ciphers (of his own in- 
vention), which we could not understand, but in part was ex- 
plained to us by Dr. Matthew Locke, one of his former pupils. 
Mr. Foard told us that a night or two before he died he de- 
stroyed all of his more private correspondence, and among 
them some ship letters lately received from France, which 
contained valuables." 

Mr. A. H. Graham, Bagdad, Tex. (1879) : " Peter S. Ney, 
as he styled himself, came to my father's in Lincoln County, 
!N~. C., in 1842, to teach school. He was employed by my 
father and others for about four years in teaching. He had 
a sabre wound on his head and numerous gunshot wounds on 
his body and limbs, and one particularly near the knee-joint, 
from a musket-ball, part of which he still retained, and at 
times, in his long walks to and from school, gave him much 
pain. In 1845 he appeared to be seventy-five or eighty years 
old. He was well preserved, as he had taken good care of 
himself. His habits, diet, exercise, cleanliness of person were 
all conducive to good health. He used Florida water and 
cologne constantly. Shaved every day. I was his almost 
daily companion for three years ; slept near him, helped him 
to undress when in his cups. Complexion florid, pale only 
when sick. Hairs on his arms and legs even of an auburn 
color. A small eater rarely ate more than two meals a day. 
Spent most of his time in reading, writing, etc. The portrait 
of Lord Elgin, Governor- General of Canada, is a fair likeness 
of Ney. He dressed very much as Elgin, although he wore 
no jewelry. Had a large English silver watch. No side 
whiskers, and always dressed the side hair of his head over 


the top and back of liis head, and not straight down, as in the 
Elgin engraving. He wore a white neck-tie like our Epis- 
copal ministers a black one at times. Had cat or hazel eyes, 
sprinkled with grains of powder ; said he received powder 
burns on his face at Borodino. Often spoke of Lord Kelson 
and battle of Trafalgar ; didn't say he was in the battle ; said 
Lord Nelson was a brave and great Englishman. He had a 
German brogue. He frequently made use of such words as 
mon for man, and ye for you, as the Germans use them. In 
pronouncing algebra, he made the last a sound like r. Spoke 
much of the excellence of the German language ; said it was 
a great language ; seemed to be very fond of it. Spoke it 
perfectly, as he also did the French and dead languages. I 
have sat for hours and listened to him tell of his battles and 
campaigns, especially of the dreadful march from Moscow, 
and the great battle of Borodino. Also spoke often of Hohen- 
linden. Said the victory at Borodino was due to him, as 
Napoleon was too unwell to command in person, but sat astride 
a cannon the greater part of the day, being afflicted with 
strangury. Said Lord Wellington saved his life. He feared 
to make himself known on this account and for his family's 
sake, as well as for other reasons. As a rule he would not 
talk about himself except when in wine ; but he was rarely 
intoxicated. He knew what he was talking about. I once 
saw a letter which he wrote to Wellington. He seemed to be 
agitated when he wrote it. Said, according to my recollec- 
tion, that the French Government owed him 60,000 francs. 
I do not think he sent the letter. Talked about Wellington 
in a very excited manner. Said he or some of his friends 
appealed to him in person. Wellington, with his hat drawn 
down over his eyes, stamped upon the ground, and said with 
much emphasis, f I cannot and will not interfere with the laws 
of the French Government. ' Said his friend Rogers in South 
Carolina was fully acquainted with his history. In 1844 said 
his wife was still living. Spoke of her with much affection. 
Said she was a small woman, and very beautiful. For a man 
of his age he was an excellent and graceful horseman, although 
lie seldom rode a horse. I once saw him ride at full gallop a 

r" <*Js4-~*-v *^ J *> 



-<*fet r~~f~^\*^ 

c^J^r JL:J;~J > "~~^-~-^T 

^AL^itzr- < r ~>~V~-'_ 



**~~~^-*t* ss >^' ^r 

. .. ^ ^r ^ oVu^v-/^ ' *X**->** y*j*rtz 



large, fiery horse, which showed him off to much advantage, 
and surprised us all very much. This proved to us that he 
had long been accustomed to the saddle. He used to punish 
his pupils by pinching their ears. Said that was Napoleon's 
habit with his officers. My sisters occasionally played ' Bona- 
parte's Retreat.' Mr. Key didn't like to hear it sometimes 
shed tears. I don't think he ever voted or was naturalized. 
Was a great fencer. Said Murat only was a better swords- 
man. He often spoke of an adopted child that he rescued 
during the march from Moscow. He called him Phesnac or 
Fesnac.* He appeared to have a greater affection for him 
than any one of whom 1 heard him speak not even excepting 
his wife and children. Always spoke of Phesnac or Fesnac 
as a youth ; called him ' my son. ' I think he said Murat cut 
down the soldier who gave him the sabre wound. Did not 
say in what battle he received it. I have often seen the manu- 
script containing an account of his life. He kept it securely 
in his trunk. In writing it he often consulted Thiers's ' His- 
tory of the Consulate and Empire. ' : 

* I have no doubt P. S. Ney said Fezensac. Headley says : " As they 
left the gates of Smolensko, a French mother, finding she had not room in 
her sledge for her infant child, cast it from her into the snow in spite of 
its piercing cries and pleading tones. Ney, touched by the spectacle, 
lifted up the infant himself, and replaced it on the mother's breast, bidding 
her cherish and protect it. Again did she cast it away, and again did he 
carry it in his own brave arms back to her ; and though the mother was 
finally left to die on the frozen ground, that tender infant survived all 
the horrors of the retreat, and lived to see France." " Napoleon and his 

" At the gates of the city" (Smolensko) " a mother abandoned her little 
son, only five years old ; in spite of his cries and tears, she drove him 
away from her sledge, which was too heavily laden. . . . Twice did Ney 
himself replace the child in the arms of its mother, and twice did she cast 
him from her on the frozen snow. . . . The infant was entrusted to another 
mother ; this little orphan was then in their ranks ; he was afterward seen 
at the Berezina, then at Wilna, again at Kowno, and finally escaped all 
the horrors of the retreat." Segur's " Expedition to Russia." 

At Smolensko (p. 59) Fezensac was almost as heroic, almost as great as 
Ney himself. It is very probable that Ney adopted this orphan boy, and 
named him Fezensac in honor of his lion-hearted lieutenant. See testi- 
mony of the Rev. Dr. Jones. 


Mrs. Elizabeth P. Sloan, Brenham, Tex. (1886) : " 1 was 
well acquainted with Peter S. Key. I was his pupil for a 
considerable time. My brother" (Dr. A. H. Graham) " wrote 
on a piece of cardboard ' Academy of P. S. Key, ' and tacked 
it on a tree near the road. Mr. Key was enraged, and ordered 
my brother to take it down, saying he did not wish his where- 
abouts to be known. I have frequently heard him speak of 
his wife. Said she had an elegant necklace* (diamond, I 
think) which cost several thousand dollars I forget how 
many. One day our class read c On Linden when the sun 
was low.' Mr. Key shed tears, as he did on another occasion 
when the class read about Waterloo. When on horseback, as 
old as he was, he was grand so erect and rode beautifully." 

K. F. Hall, Blackmer, Kowan County, K. C., 1886 : "I 
saw P. S. Key several times when he taught near Mocksville. 
Judge Pearson knew him well. He said to me one day, ( This 
Peter S. Key likes whiskey. I believe he is an impostor. I 
haven't the slightest idea that he is Marshal Key.' Later 
Judge Pearson was convinced that he was Marshal Key. I 
saw P. S. Key a short time before he died. He appeared to 
be very aged. A good fencer. One day a left-handed man 
was his antagonist. Key shrank back, and pointing to a 
heavy sabre scar over the eye, said, ' A left-handed man gave 
me this scar, or this was made by a left-handed man. ' ' 

Moses Lingle, Third Creek, K. C. (1886) : " I knew P. S. 
Key. He was a passionate man, and would sometimes give 
vent to his temper. Osborne G. Foard told me that Key 
when drunk would tell who he was, how he got away, etc. , 
but silent as to these points when he was sober. I bought a 
few books that once belonged to P. S. Key. Some of them 
were scorched or injured by the fire. It is said that once 
when in great trouble he started to destroy them." 

General D. H. Hill, Charlotte, K. C. (1887) : " Many of 
my acquaintances were pupils of P. S. Key. In some way 
they were much impressed with the learning and ability of 
this man of mystery. They all believed him to be the re- 

* See portrait of the Princess de la Moskowa. 


doubtable marshal ; but the claimants for the marshalship 
overdid the work. They talked a great deal about the scholar- 
ship of P. S. Ney, for which the real marshal was not distin- 
guished. However, the boys in an old field school are apt to 
imagine that their teacher is a new edition of Solomon. ISTey 
said to Mrs. Hill that he took great interest in her, as her 
name (Christian) had the same initials* as the name of his 
mother. He showed considerable skill in versification, but, 
as I remember, no poetic talent. The Rev. Mr. Frontis, a 
native Frenchman, said he never believed Ney to be a French- 
man until he heard him pronounce Augereau. The pronunci- 
ation was such, said he, as only a native could give. Ney 
wouldn't talk French with Frontis, and that excited his sus- 
picions. ' ' 

Mrs. H. M. Irwin, Charlotte, N. C. (May 13th, 1887) :f 
" P. S. Key's mother, according to his assertion to a member 
of my family, was a Scotchwoman whose name was Isabella 
Stuart. The way he happened to speak of it was this : he 
sometimes, at the request of his pupils and other parties, would 
write acrostics on their names. He would dash off these pro- 
ductions with no apparent effort, give the origin of the name, 
and state to what language it belonged. In writing an acros- 
tic for a young lady whose name was Isabella, J he said, ' I 
take much pleasure in putting this into verse, as it was the 
name of my mother,' adding that she was a native of Scot- 

Mrs. D. H. Hill, Charlotte, N. C. (1894) : " I have often 
seen Peter S. Ney. He wrote a beautiful acrostic on my 
name. He said his mother was connected with a family of 
Stuarts who lived (as I understood him) in Scotland, not far 
from the residence of Sir James Graham. I once dined with 
Mr. Ney at the home of my uncle, Mr. J. D. Graham. Mrs. 
Graham was dead, and his young daughter, Miss Martha, 
acted as hostess. She asked me to assist her. Mr. Key was 

* General Hill married Miss Isabella Sophia Morrison, a sister of Mrs. 
Stonewall Jackson. 

f From the Charlotte (N. C.) Chronicle. 
\ Mrs. D. H. Hill. 


amused at our inexperienced efforts at entertaining, and serv- 
ing the table. He remarked : ' 1 hope, young ladies, you 
will excuse personal remarks, but I cannot help criticising 
occasionally. ' My cousin said, ' I expect my teacher to criti- 
cise me.' He made no reply, but after we went into the 
parlor he took a seat near us and remarked, ; Composure of 
feature and steadiness of person are the highest evidences of 
good breeding. ' I was so struck with these words that I im- 
mediately wrote them in my diary." 

Mrs. Sally Nelson Hughes, Halifax Court House, Ya. 
(1889) : " Peter S. Ney taught school near the residence of my 
father (Mr. William Nelson), Mecklenburg County, Ya., in 
1828-29. I was his pupil a great part of the time. He kept 
a large life-size portrait of Napoleon hanging up in the 
school-room. He also had a picture of Napoleon's grave at 
St. Helena. "We all thought he was a wonderful man. My 
father asked him to write an acrostic on the names of the dif- 
ferent members of his family. He did so. The acrostic is ex- 
ceedingly beautiful and in excellent taste. My youngest sister 
was named after Mr. Ney's mother Catharine Isabella. Mr. 
Ney himself asked my mother to let him name her infant 
child after his mother. She readily granted the request. He 
was very proud of the honor. It gratified him very much, as 
he seemed to have great affection for his mother. In the 
acrostic the different names are connected together in a single 
piece of composition. That part of it which refers to my 
youngest sister is as follows : 

" ' Conduct us to the climes above. 
Assume, O Muse, a deeper tone, 
To animate, inspire, inform : 
Harmonious numbers well may claim 
A child that bears my mother's name ; 
Right forward be her path ; may time 
Inspire her heart with truth Divine ; 
No vices stain, no passions wild 
Entice away this lovely child. 

" ' In charity and peace, oh may 
She ever think of Stuart Ney ! 
Around her head may Virtue throw, 
Beaming and bright, her robe of snow : 


Emblem of innocence and worth, 
Look up to them who gave thee birth ; 
Look up to Him who's higher still, 
And act obedient to His will. ' 

i The first line is connected with the preceding name, thus : 

" ' Wisdom and faith and pious love, 
Conduct us to the climes above.' 

" He also wrote the acrostic in shorthand, and said to my 
oldest sister, ' Copy it, and time will repay you.' He was 
fond of music, and often played on a flute. He gave my 
father a large spy-glass. When extended, I think it would 
measure three feet, and it commands a distance of several 
miles. It is now owned by my nephew in Spartanburg, S. C. 
The only thing on the glass is, ' Carpenter, London. Improved 
day and night. ' : 

J. W. Sanders, Iredell County, N. C. (1886) : " About 
the year 1840 Peter S. Ney was recognized as Marshal Ney 
by John Snyder, of Iredell County. Snyder was a Bohemian 
German born and raised near Prague. He said he was con- 
scripted by order of Napoleon on the very day he was twenty- 
one years old. He was assigned to Murat's command, and 
charged in the snow-storm with that renowned marshal on 
the bloody field of Eylau (as called by Snyder, ' Ilau '). He 
was afterward under Davout, then under various other mar- 
shals, including Marshal Ney. Said he had seen Bonaparte 
(to use his own words) 'hundred times.' Had been in six- 
teen regular battles, besides several smaller engagements. 
Napoleon, seeing defection in his German troops, sent them 
away, I think to the "West Indies. Synder said that after 
enduring great hardships and suffering he deserted and came 
to the United States, landing at Charleston, S. C. He after- 
ward settled in Iredell County. Snyder saw P. S. Ney in 
Statesville about 1840, and immediately recognized him as 
Marshal Ney. He said he was frightened. He raised his 
hands and exclaimed : ' Lordy God, Marshal Ney ! ' P. S. 
Ney gave him a sign not to talk, and he afterward conversed 
with P. S. Ney. He said he knew Ney perfectly. Belonged 
at one time to Ney's command, and was personally acquainted 


with him. He told me the following incident among many 
others : On one occasion in a severe battle (I forget the 
name) Marshal Ney had several horses killed under him. 
He then walked on foot along the line, animating his despond- 
ing troops, with his sword in one hand and a broken standard 
in the other. Snyder saw that the men were being killed all 
around him, and he began to dodge at the whistle of the bul- 
lets. Ney saw him and tapped him on the shoulder, and said, 
in German, 'Snyder, the bullets you hear won't kill you.' 
Snyder said that Ney knew a great many of the private sol- 
diers, and would often go among them and talk to them in his 
blunt but kind-hearted way. He said Ney's soldiers loved 
him, and almost worshipped the ground he walked on. He 
said that the marshal would look out for them as nobody else 
would. He would see that they had plenty of food and 
clothing, and that the sick and wounded were properly cared 
for. He would take the part of any soldier that was abused 
or imposed upon, and would see that justice was done him. 
Frederick Barr, one of Napoleon's old soldiers, also recog- 
nized P. S. Ney as Marshal Ney. Snyder and Barr were 
from the same country, and generally spoke the German 
tongue. They were men of high character, and enjoyed the 
confidence an<J esteem of the community in which they lived. " 
Daniel Snyder, Statesville, N. C. (1889) : " I have often 
heard my father (John Snyder) say that he knew Marshal 
Ney in Europe ; that he had served in Ney's command as a 
private soldier. When my father saw Peter S. Ney in 
Statesville about the year 1840, he knew him at once, but he 
was 'astonished,' he said, 'almost out of his senses.' He 
had no idea of seeing him. There was a political meeting in 
Statesville on the day that my father saw Peter Ney. He 
said when he recognized him as Marshal Ney, Mr. Ney inti- 
mated to him to say nothing more, and that after the meeting 
was over he and Ney had a private talk. I have heard my 
father say dozens of times that Peter S. Ney was Marshal 
Ney ; that he knew Marshal Ney by sight as well as he knew 
his own father. Germany was my father's native country, 
and his people were in good circumstances. He said he knew 


Marshal Ney personally, as Marshal Ney was in the habit of 
going among his soldiers and making the acquaintance of the 
humblest in the ranks. My father solemnly asserted to his 
dying day that Peter S. Ney was Marshal Ney." 

William Sidney Stevenson, Statesville, N. C. (1887) : "1 
knew Peter S. Ney. He taught school not far from my home 
for a considerable time, and I have a most distinct recollec- 
tion of him. He was a man whom, having once seen, you 
could never forget. His large, well-formed head, his broad, 
full massive face, with piercing magnetic eyes and very 
prominent chin, showed great strength of mind and great force 
of character. He was a man, too, of great personal dignity, 
of marked simplicity and kindliness of manner, free from 
hypocrisy or any sort of affectation whatever. In the year 
1840 I attended a political meeting in Howe's Township, 
about nine miles from Statesville. It was during the guber- 
natorial campaign. Judge Saunders, of Raleigh, and Gov- 
ernor Morehead, of Greensborough, were to address the people 
on that occasion. A little while before the speaking began 
I was talking to two of my friends, not far from the speaker's 
stand. They were John Young, county surveyor and mem- 
ber of the Legislature, and Dr. James B. McClellan, both 
men of the highest character. During this conversation Dr. 
McClellan left us and walked over to a small gathering of 
men about sixty yards distant, who were discussing the ordi- 
nary topics of the day. In a little while Dr. McClellan came 
back, walking quickly, and manifesting considerable excite- 
ment. He made substantially the following statement : * Just 
now, while I was talking to Daniel Hoke, Frederick Barr, 
and others, Barr suddenly raised his hands in great excitement 
and said something in German which the rest of us except 
Daniel Hoke did not understand. "We all asked Daniel Hoke 
what was the matter with Barr what it was he had said ? 
"Why," answered Hoke, pointing to Peter S. Ney, who, 
with Colonel Thomas Allison, was then walking past us on 
the opposite side of the road, " he says, ' Yonder is Marshal 
Ney. They told me he was shot ; but he was not. Yonder 
he is. I know him, for I fought under him off and on for 


five or six years, in Napoleon's wars.' ' This information 
greatly staggered Mr. Young and myself. We had occasion- 
ally heard the reports that some persons believed Peter S. Ney 
was Marshal Ney, but we had attached little importance to 
them. We had no faith in them ; but we could no longer 
doubt the truth of these reports. Both of us knew Barr, and 
had known him for years, and we believed him to be an hon- 
est, reliable, truthful man. He certainly bore that reputation 
in the community in which he lived. Barr was a German, 
and talked English very brokenly indeed. He had several 
wounds which he said (long before he saw P. S. Key in 1840) 
he had received in the Napoleonic wars. He was a very brave 
man, and would permit no one to doubt his word or cast the 
slightest imputation upon his honor. He drank too much beer 
at times. That was his chief infirmity. Daniel Hoke (upon 
whose farm Barr lived) was a cousin of the Hon. Michael 
Hoke, a distinguished lawyer, and was a man of intelligence, 
wealth, and influence. He was thoroughly acquainted with 
the German language, and he and Barr frequently talked with 
each other in that language. Hoke had the highest opinion 
of Barr as an honest, industrious, truthful, and generally sober 
tenant. After Barr's declaration about Peter S. Ney, Hoke 
said he was compelled to believe that P. S. Ney was Marshal 
Ney. A short time after Barr's statement at the political 
meeting in reference to P. S. Ney, he suddenly left the 
county, and went, I think, to Indiana certainly somewhere 
out West. No one knew why he left. His sudden departure 
puzzled his neighbors. Hoke valued him highly as a tenant ; 
he was prosperous and contented, every one respected him, 
he was in no trouble of any kind, and his neighbors could not 
imagine why he should suddenly leave the county and remove 
to a distant part of the country. It was reported that Daniel 
Hoke helped him to get off furnished him with money, etc. 
Possibly P. S. Ney's friends had something to do with his re- 
moval.* I never heard from Barr afterward. 

" Peter S. Ney, as I remember him, looked somewhat like 

* It is very probable. 


Judge Armfield. Armfield's forehead is not as high and full 
as Ney's, especially the upper part of his forehead. Has eyes, 
too, are different. Still, there is some resemblance. P. S. 
Ney also bore some resemblance to the Rev. Henry Nelson 
Pharr, Presbyterian clergyman (with whom Mr. Ney was 
quite intimate), and to Sidney E. Morse, the first editor of 
the New York Observer." 

Rev. R. W. Barber, Wilkesborough, N. C. (1888) : " In 
the year 1846, not long before Christmas, in company with 
the Rev. Mr. Gries, I was at the house of Major E. P. Miller, 
in Caldwell County. We were there several days, and while 
there, Mr. Gates (Getz), a well-known teacher of Caldwell 
County, came in and spent the most of one afternoon. As he 
was a native German, and Mr. Gries, as he termed himself, 
a ' Pennsylvania Dutchman,' they seemed to enjoy a great 
deal of conversation, of which the rest of us were, perhaps 
blissfully, ignorant. There were intervals, however, when 
they conversed in English. Mr. Gries had heard of P. S. 
Ney, and seemed to be impressed with the claim of his being 
Marshal Ney. Up to that time I did not share the impres- 
sion. In the course of conversation he mentioned the matter, 
and asked Gates what he thought of it. To which Gates re- 
plied, ' Poh ! old hypocrite, ' repeating the epithet very con- 
temptuously three times. He then went on to state his rea- 
sons. 1 will endeavor for the sake of brevity to use his own 
language, and will write in the first person. He went on to 
say : l Some years ago I was in search of a situation as a 
schoolteacher, and was advised to go to the house of Mr. 
Graham, in Lincoln County. Soon after my arrival I pre- 
sented my letters of recommendation from various persons, 
whose patronage 1 had before enjoyed. Mr. Graham replied 
that some weeks before they wanted a teacher, as I had been 
informed, but had been so fortunate as to secure one with 
whom they were well pleased. He went on to state his name 
and claim sometimes made. He then asked me if I had ever 
seen Marshal Ney. To this I replied, " Once and only once." 
" Do you have any distinct recollection of his appearance, so 
as to be able to detect the same in one now claiming to be the 


marshal ?" I replied that the impression made on my mind 
by the looks and bearing of Marshal Ney was indelible. He 
was a German by birth, and having then, when I saw him, 
attained very eminent distinction, I eyed him closely. Mr. 
Graham proposed that I should have a personal and private 
interview with Mr. Ney. To this I assented, and he sent a 
servant to ask Mr. Ney to come into the sitting-room, as a 
gentleman from the old country wished to see him. Ney 
very soon made his appearance, and, as he stepped into the 
room, the marks of identity were so strong that I said to 
myself, "It is no farce, this must be the identical Marshal 
Ney." We had a prolonged conversation. I drew him out 
in conversation about parts of Germany with which I knew, 
if he was Marshal Ney, he must be familiar. I found him 
not only familiar with the topography of the sections, but 
with families whose names had not found a place in history 
or in fame. The conviction was overpowering. I drew my 
chair close to him, and in a low tone of voice said, " Are you 
not Marshal Ney ?" Upon my saying this, or asking this 
question, the old hypocrite, as I now felt that he was, sealed 
his lips, arose from his chair, and placing his hands behind 
him under his surtout coat, walked off to his room, not mak- 
ing his appearance any more during my stay. ' * This is 
Gates's statement as accurately as I can remember and relate 

" I never saw P. S. Ney. Whatever impressions I have 
were derived from intelligent persons who were well ac- 
quainted with him. By conversations with them I have been 
convinced that those entertaining the notion of P. S. Ney's 
identity with Marshal Ney cannot be justly deemed mere 
victims of a pleasing illusion, or liable to the charge of 
credulity. It is not true that he alluded to his identity with 
Marshal Key only when in his cups. These were generally 

* I care little for Mr. Gates's opinion. His testimony is valuable, for 
those who knew him well say that his character for truth was unimpeach- 
able. Mr. Gates fully believed that P. S. Ney was Marshal Ney until his 
pride was touched, and then he called him an old hypocrite. Had P. S. 
Ney been an impostor, it is clear that he would have acted differently 


his occasions for asserting it ; but he asserted it to several 
individuals when cool sober. My brother, Colonel William 
Barber, was his pupil, and a favorite one. Under him he 
read Caesar's Commentaries. He told me at the time, and 
many years afterward, that Caesar was the old man's favorite 
classic ; that during recitations he would discuss Caesar's 
strategic movements with a freedom and apparent ability 
which no one but a military man could or would have done ; 
that he was in the habit of comparing or contrasting them 
with those of Napoleon on various occasions, and, incident- 
ally, and with apparent unconsciousness, would state his own 
part in the drama. My brother may be said to have been 
one of those who cherished the pleasing illusion. It may 
have been attributed to childish credulity, for he was then 
only thirteen years of age. But after going through college, 
studying law, and entering the practice of it, he said to the 
last that time and reflection had not effaced in the least his 
impressions. ' ' 

Dr. J. G. Eamsay, Cleveland, N. C., 1887 : " I knew 
P. S. Ney. It seems to me to be more difficult to say who 
he was than to believe he was Marshal Ney. I once asked 
Dr. Locke how he came to let Key die. Locke replied, * He 
wouldn't take the medicines T prescribed for him ; took only 
such as pleased him ;* said it was no use, etc. I was ac- 
quainted with Snyder, who recognized him as Marshal Ney in 
Statesville. Snyder was an honest, truthful man. The Hon. 
Burton Craige, M.C., of Salisbury, told me once that he 
believed P. S. Ney was an Irishman, and educated for a 
Roman Catholic priest. I do not remember that he stated 
why he thought so." 

Dr. Daniel Burton Wood, Ehnwood, K C. (1888) : " I 
knew P. S. Ney. His physique was almost perfect. A 
phrenologist would have gloried in his head large, finely 
shaped, full of brains, and well developed. His whole ex- 
pression and bearing were simply magnificent. He was a 
born leader of men. I once saw in the Eumenean Society,. 

* Napoleon at St. Helena would not take O'Meara's medicines ; said, 
" It's no use. One's days are numbered," etc. 


Davidson College, a book on the French Revolution (I forget 
the title) which contained quite a number of marginal notes 
by F. S. Ney. In these notes Mr. IsTey corrected several 
historical errors, and explained other points which needed 
elucidation. The Rev. Barnabas Scott Krider, who was edu- 
cated at Davidson College, said P. S. Ney borrowed the book 
and returned it with the annotations. The day after Mr. 
Joey's death I rode over to Mr. Osborne Foard's, and went 
into the room where Mr. Ney was laid out for burial. I 
placed my hand upon his ample, noble forehead, and said to 
myself, ' Can it be possible that I have my hand upon the 
forehead of the " Bravest of the brave" ? ' I was deeply 
affected by the thought. He looked grand even in death." 

Dr. James M. Spainhour, Lenoir, K C. (1888): " My 
father, Noah Spainhour, who died in Caldwell County in 
1881, was acquainted with Peter S. Ney. He met him in 
Rowan County in 1846, a short time before P. S. Ney's 
death. He said in substance : c In the summer of 1846 I 
went to Salisbury, N". C. , for the purpose of employing Miss 
Emma J. Baker to teach school in Lenoir. She had previously 
taught in Lenoir, and was then staying with her brother 
Alfred, who lived in Salisbury. In passing through Rowan 
County I lost my way, and asked the first man I met to show 
me the road to Salisbury. He asked me who I was, and 
where I lived. I said, " My name is Spainhour, and I live 
in Caldwell County." " Spainhour, Spainhour^ said he, 
repeating the name slowly and reflectively. " Why, 1 had 
some soldiers of that name in my command in Switzerland." 
u Yery probable," I said, u for my family came from Swit- 
zerland, and we have several relatives in that country." He 
then asked me to go home with him ; said it was nearly dark, 
and Mr. Foard, the gentleman with whom he boarded, would 
be glad to entertain me. I accepted his invitation. After 
supper he asked me to walk out with him into the grove, not 
far from the house. I did so, and we had quite a long talk. 
He said he thought he had three soldiers named Spainhour 
belonging to his command in Switzerland ; that he had a dis- 
tinct recollection of the name. He then told me that Marshal 


Ney had command of Bonaparte's troops in Switzerland, and 
that he was not executed, as history states that he was. He 
said the arrangement was that the soldiers detailed to exe- 
cute him were not to fire until they heard the word of 
command from the marshal himself ; that he was to fall while 
giving the command fire, so that the balls might pass over 
him. This arrangement was carried out. He was quickly 
taken up and carried to a neighboring hospital. He then 
disguised himself, made his way to the coast, and sailed to 
the United States. He said that when he walked to the place 
appointed for his execution he had in his left bosom a bag of 
red fluid resembling blood, and that when he struck his hand 
upon his heart or breast in giving the command/^, the bag 
bursted, and the fluid spurted over his person, etc. I think 
he also told me that he went on board the boat which carried 
him to America disguised as a servant, carrying a valise. His 
clothes did not fit him, and it made him mad. They were 
too small for him. During the voyage he said he was recog- 
nized by an old soldier who had been in the Napoleonic wars, 
and that when they reached Charleston he remained on board 
the vessel until the old soldier had gotten off and disappeared. 
He saw him leave from the cabin window. 

" I have heard my father make this statement more than 
once, and I cannot be mistaken as to its substantial accuracy. 
My father farther stated that P. S. Ney told him that Mar- 
shal Key was then living, but he would not say positively that 
he was Marshal Key." 

Valentine Stirewalt, Davidson College, K C. (1894) : " I 
went to school to P. S. Ney in 1842. He boarded at my 
father's, and I saw him often sometimes had long talks with 
him in his room. He was fond of his toddy, and my father 
gave him a dram every morning for breakfast. He didn't 
drink much at a time, and he rarely went beyond proper 
bounds. I appeared to be one of his favorites, and he would 
occasionally talk to me about his past life. He once told me 
he was Marshal Key, and how he escaped. He said that when 
he marched out for execution he had in his bosom a sack of 
red fluid, and that when he gave the command to fire he 


struck the sack with his right hand, and the liquid spurted out 
on his face and clothing. He fell, and appeared to be dead. 
He was taken up and carried off, and finally escaped to the 
United States." 

R. A. Henderson, attorney-at-law, Topeka, Kan. : "I was 
born in England ; was educated at the Royal Military College, 
and served three years in the regular army. My grandfather 
(Robert Laird) was an English soldier in the Peninsular War 
and at Waterloo. In the Peninsular War he was a member 
of the Eighty-eighth Regiment, known as the Connaught 
Rangers, and at Waterloo he was a sergeant in the celebrated 
Sixth Inniskillen Dragoons, who were almost annihilated in 
their charge against the cuirassiers.- After the battle of 
Waterloo he went to France, and remained there with the 
army of occupation. He was one of the persons representing 
the English army, appointed to witness the execution of "Ney. 
I have heard him say often that Ney was not executed that 
he saw the muskets discharged, saw Ney fall, viewed the 
body, saw it taken up and carried away, saw it in the hospital, 
but that Nej was not hurt ; that the so-called execution was a 
farce. He always affirmed this in the most positive manner. 
Said ISTey's fall was not natural, and that the supposed bullet 
marks upon his person were artificial. I think he also stated 
that some Prussians were present at the scene. My impres- 
sion is that he said the guns contained blank cartridges. The 
report made by the commission, of which he was a member, 
to the military authorities was this : ' Marshal Ney was not 
shot. ' I may be mistaken as to some minor matters, but the 
essential facts are as I have given them. My grandfather was 
a man of approved courage. He had a great many medals 
which were given to him for gallantry in the Peninsular War 
and at Waterloo. He was born in Fermanagh, six miles from 
Inniskillen, Ireland, and was very old when he died. While 
in the army he kept a private diary, which he bequeathed to 
me. I have it among my books in Canada. In that diary 
will be found a confirmation of what I have said and other de- 
tails of the alleged execution. 

" My grandfather further said that at the time of the so- 


called execution it was the common talk in the army and else- 
where that Key was not shot. ' ' 

Correspondent of the St. Louis Republic^ Rocheport, Mo. 
(1891) : " Major Thomas W. Sampson, of Rocheport, gives 
some very interesting facts in regard to the mysterious Ney 
which seem to establish the fact conclusively that he was not 
shot on that dismal and foggy morning when so many brave 
men fell victims to the merciless decree of the French Council 
of Peers. Major Sampson states that the late George H. C. 
Melody, of St. Louis, spent several weeks in Paris, France, in 
1845, during the reign of Louis Philippe, King of the French. 
His Majesty extended to the American commoner many tokens 
of friendship in recognition of courtesies extended to the king 
by Mr. Melody in St. Louis during the king's exile years 

" In the course of a confidential conversation during this 
visit, Mr. Melody asked Louis Philippe the question : ' Is 
the statement in history that Marshal Ney was shot true ? J 

" The king replied : ' Mr. Melody, I know the fact that 
you are one of the highest Masons in America. I am known 
as one of the most exalted Masons in Europe. Marshal Ney 
held a position among Masons equal to either of us. The 
prisons were full of men condemned to be shot. These men 
were daily being marched out to meet their fate. Some other 
man may have filled the grave intended for Marshal Ney.' 
Mr. Melody replied very quietly : ' May it please your Majesty, 
Ney was not shot. ' " * 

Mrs. E. D. Austin, Mocksville, N. C. (1888) : " When 
Peter S. Ney taught school near Mocksville, N. C., about the 
year 1834 or 1835, he lived very near rny house, and I fre- 
quently saw him. My husband, Colonel E. D. Austin, had a 
carpenter shop not far from the house, and was often called 
upon to furnish coffins for persons who had died in the town 

* The Rev. Dr. Basil G. Jones states that P. S. Ney told him that the 
' ancient fraternity aided in his escape from the first." Hon. John S. 
Henderson, Salisbury, N. C., says : "I have heard my father say that 
Peter S. Ney was a Mason." Wellington was a Mason. Comment is un- 


or the surrounding country. Mr. Ney would sometimes go 
into the shop and sit down and talk with Colonel Austin and 
his workmen. One night, between nine and ten o'clock, 
while they were engaged in making a coffin for a person who 
had recently died near the town, Mr. Ney walked into the 
shop to see what was going on. He had been drinking a lit- 
tle, but he was by no means intoxicated. One of the work- 
men, who was much attached to Mr. Ney, said to him, < Mr. 
Ney, we are making a coffin for a man just about as large as 
you are. This coffin will exactly fit you. ' ' Ah, ' said Mr. 
Ney, quickly looking up, ' they thought they had me in a 
coffin once, but they didn't.' My husband, Colonel Austin, 
heard this conversation, and related it to me." 

Thomas D. Graham, Davidson College, 1ST. C. (1888) : " I 
was well acquainted with Peter S. Ney. I helped to nurse 
him in his last illness. He was sick several days, and I sat 
up with him every other night. I saw him die, shaved him, 
and helped to dress him and bury him. He had wounds all 
over his body I don't remember how many. He had a scar 
on the left side of his head, one on his breast, one on his 
thigh, one on his arm, and one in the calf of his leg. He 
would ask those who waited on him to rub his leg for the 
cramp, but to be careful, for there was a ball in the calf of 
his leg which sometimes gave him pain. He had many other 
scars, but I have forgotten where they were located or how 
many there were. Mr. !N"ey boarded at Mr. Osborne G. 
Foard's. I often saw him there, and sometimes had long talks 
with him. He described to me one day the battle of Water- 
loo drew a plan of it on the sand, marked off the position of 
the army, also that of the English army ; showed me how the 
battle was conducted, etc. I think he told me that he received 
the sabre cut on his head at the battle of "Waterloo ; that he 
cut down the man who gave him the blow, but broke his own 
sword in doing so. I have his old hair trunk and shaving- 
box, brush and strap. During his last illness I heard him say 
four or five times that he was Marshal Ney. He died on the 
15th day of November, 1846, about five or six o'clock in the 
evening. About ten o'clock in the morning Dr. Matthew 


Locke, his physician, and one of his old pupils, came into the 
room and said to him, ' Mr. Key, it pains me deeply to tell 
you that you have not long to live. ' Mr. Key looked at Dr. 
Locke and said calmly, ' I know it, Matthew, I know it.' 
About three o'clock in the afternoon Dr. Locke returned. 
He was much affected. ' Mr. Key,' said he, * you have but 
a short time to live, and we would like to know from your 
own lips who you are before you die.' Mr. Key, perfectly 
calm and rational, raised himself up on his elbow, and looking 
Dr. Locke full in the face, said, ' I am Marshal Key of 
France. ' Two or three hours later he died. 

" Archie Foard, a colored man, was present when Mr. Key 
told Dr. Locke he was Marshal Key. Mr. Foard, I think, 
was also present." 

Mrs. George F. Shepherd, Elm wood, K. C. (1890) : " When 
Peter S. Key died I was living at my old home, not far from 
the residence of Osborne G. Foard. A few hours after Mr. 
Key's death my father (Joseph Irwin) came home, and said 
that Mr. Key had made some revelations which cleared up 
the mystery of his life ; that just before he died he told his 
friends who he was, etc. I was quite young, but I distinctly 
remember that my father said this." 

Archie Foard (colored), Cleveland, Rowan County, K. C. 
(1890) : " I belonged to Mr. Osborne Foard. Mr. Peter Key 
died there, and I nursed him while he was sick. He was sick, 
I think, about two weeks. He had rheumatism and pains in 
his back, with a good deal of inflammation at times. He was 
very thankful for what I did for him, or for what anybody 
did for him. He said to me, ' You are very good to me. I 
will reward you when I get well. ' Sometimes he would hug 
his pillow and say, t Oh, my wife ! my wife ! ' I felt so 
sorry for him, for he was just as good to me and the other 
colored people as any man could be. One day he said, ' Oh, 
I can't stand it any longer ! If I get well 1 must go back and 
see my wife and children.' Often when he was in pain he 
would say, 4 Oh, my God ! ' * not < Oh, my God ! ' like most 

* M. Batardy said that when he told Marshal Ney that Napoleon had 


people, but, ' Oh, my (me) God ! ' I heard him say two or 
three times that he was Marshal Ney. I didn't know who 
Marshal Ney was, but that is what he said. He had wounds 
all over him. I don't know how many he had. He was 
awfully marked up. I used to rub his back. He said it did 
him a great deal of good, and he would thank me over and 
over again for it. He wasn't out of his head at any time ex- 
cept a little while before he died. He said not long before he 
died that he was Marshal Ney. When Mr. Ney was well he 
would often go out into the garden before breakfast and get an 
onion and eat it with a biscuit ; sometimes he would eat red 
pepper with his biscuit. Everybody, white folks as well as 
colored, looked up to Mr. Ney as the biggest man in that 
country. "We were all sorter ' jubus ' of him ; stood off from 
him because he was so fur ahead of us. I never seed such a 
man. ' ' 

John M. Steele, States ville, JST. C. (1887) : " I went to 
school to P. S. Ney in 1826 and again in 1829. He had 
originally auburn or reddish hair, but in 1826 it was turning 
gray. He had splendid teeth, but they were considerably 
worn, because the upper and lower ones came evenly together, 
one square upon the other. He was without doubt the great- 
est man that ever lived in North Carolina. One day Mr. 
]STey borrowed a horse of Mr. Gay, of Iredell, to ride to 
Statesville, a distance of twelve miles. When he returned he 
said to Mr. Gay in his deep bass voice, ' This is a good horse, 
but not so good as the one I once rode eighty miles, from dark 
to daylight. ' At the close of the school in 1826 Mr. N ey said 
to his pupils, ' Stick to your books ; read and study at home ; 
you have better advantages than I had when I was a boy. ' 
Mr. Ney died near Third Creek, Kowan County, in 1846. It 
was the common talk of the neighborhood immediately after 
his death that he had told Dr. Locke and others that he was 
Marshal Ney. I heard the report often." 

Mrs. Osborne G. Foard, Newton, 1ST, C. (1887) : " 1 knew 
P. S. Ney when he taught school near Third Creek in Rowan 

landed from Elba, Marshal Ney answered, " O my God, what a misfor- 
tune !" 


County. I remember him well. He walked rather briskly 
at all times, even in going about the house. Had small marks 
or spots on his face, produced, I suppose, by the small-pox. 
Skin a little rough, though of a healthy hue. Loved fun and 
jokes when he had nothing to do. A hearty laugher when 
anything amused him. A great fencer. His sword or stick 
would fly like lightning. Hawk-looking eyes, with a good 
deal of white in them. One day when he was sick, he said, 
' O France ! France ! why can't I No, I must not ! ' 
Talked rapidly when excited. Had a wound on his arm be- 
tween shoulder and elbow so deep that the flesh appeared to 
adhere to the bone. He had an Irish brogue, a deep, rolling 
voice. I have his writing-desk, comb, and knife. He had a 
fine sword, with the point broken off ; but 1 do not know what 
became of it. 1 have seen it often. It was highly polished, 
as bright as new silver, with a richly ornamented hilt. About 
one fourth of the sword was broken off. Mr. Key noticed 
everything. Mr. Foard used to say, ' What Mr. Key couldn't 
see was not worth seeing. ' Mr. Foard was very sorry that he 
allowed Pliny Miles to carry off Mr. Key's shorthand manu- 
script. Mr. Foard wrote to Mr. Miles about the document, 
and he replied that he would return it after awhile. Some 
months afterward Mr. Foard wrote again to Pliny Miles, but 
he received no answer to his second letter. The manuscript 
was never returned. Mr. Foard had the monument put to 
Mr. Key's grave, and my impression is that he and Colonel 
Austin composed the inscription. I have frequently heard 
Mr. Foard speak of Mr. Key's last illness, and of his dying 
declaration that he was Marshal Key. He said in substance 
that not long before Mr. Key died, Dr. Locke approached his 
bedside and said, ' Mr. Key, I have done everything for you 
that I could do, and it grieves me to tell you that I do not 
think you can possibly get well. We would like to know who 
you are before you die.' Mr. Key answered, 'I might as 
well tell you. I am Marshal Key of France.' ' 


- ^; .* 

-r- C' 

Of i 

(Tak3n by Dr. Laugenour, Statesville, N. C.) 


THE body of P. S. Ney was exhumed on the 3d day of May, 1887. The 
physicians present say : 

" The undersigned physicians wish to state that, according to a previous 
notice, we did to-day cause to be exhumed the remains of P. S. Ney in the 
presence of a great number of witnesses, some of them from Washington 
City, Raleigh, and other parts of the country. We found some of the bones 
only, and these in a state of such decay that we cannot state positively 
whether the skull had ever been trepanned or not. We made diligent 
search for bullets said to have lodged in the body, but found none. We 
succeeded so far, however, as to ascertain that the skeleton was about five 
feet ten inches long, and the skull around about the eyes about twenty-four 
inches in circumference. 

V (Signed) J. G. RAMSAY, M.D., 

D. B. WOOD, M.D., 
C. M. POOL, M.D., 
S. W. EATON, M.D., 
J. H. WOLFF, M.D., 

" THIRD CREEK CHURCH, N. C., May 3, 1887." 

The inscription on P. S. Ney's tombstone is as follows : 





NOVEMBER 15TH, 1846, 



Brief Description of Lower Maxillary by Dr. J. II. Wolff. 

" THE body or anterior part of the inferior maxillary bone (lower jaw- 
bone) was found in a better state of preservation than the other bones of the 
skull. That part of the bone on the right side, posterior to the location 
of the second molar (jaw tooth), and on the left side posterior to the first 
molar (jaw tooth), was missing. The dimensions, shape, etc., indicated a 
lower jaw developed somewhat above the average of the human race the 
chin being prominent, bordering on protrusion. The sockets (receptacles 
for the teeth) were well marked, showing that the full complement of teeth 
were present in this jaw when the subject died, except the second inferior 
molar on the right side, which had, no doubt, been removed, as the soft 
bone which encases the teeth had been absorbed and a smooth surface left 
on the bone proper. The left inferior lateral incisor cuspid, first and sec- 
ond bicuspids were the teeth found intact, the others having been dislodged 
evidently in removing the skull from the grave. 

" The teeth were in a better state of preservation than other parts found, 
showing that, notwithstanding they had done duty as grinders for sev- 
enty-seven years, and had lain in the ground forty years, they yet served 
as signboards to point out certain characteristics and to tell of the mal- 
formation of their owner. To be plainer, the teeth being evenly abraded 
or worn do\*n half the length of the crowns indicate the closing of the 
teeth of the upper jaw directly upon those below instead of the anterior 
teeth closing over, scissors fashion, which is normal. 

" The abnormal articulation of the teeth accounts for the slight protru 
sion of the lower jaw heretofore referred to." 


MB. EGBERT MACFARLAN, attorney-at-law, Florence, S. C., 
has in his library a valuable book which once belonged to 
Peter S. Ney. This book was written by Dr. Barry E. 
O'Meara, and is entitled " Napoleon in Exile ; or, a Voice 
from St. Helena." It is in two volumes, and was published 
by Carey & Lea, Philadelphia, in 1822. Each volume con- 
tains several marginal annotations in P. S. Key's handwriting. 
P. S. Ney wrote his name once in Yol. I. and twice in 
Yol. II. 

The notes by P. S. Ney are copied literally from the book, 
exactly as they were written, and are here printed in italics. 

Enough of the text is given to make the notes intelligible. 


" c I never knew anything about that document until it was 
read to the troops. It is true that I sent him orders to obey 
me. What could he do ? His troops abandoned him. ' ' 
Page 16. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l TJie Return was meditated prior to N. Bonaparte's 
quitting fontainbleau for Elba, and when Napoleon re-landed, Ney used all 
Ms influence to induce Ms Division to join the Emperor . . . / / / which 
they hesit ... * 

" Nor since I knew him had he ever taken more than a 
very small cap of coffee after each repast, and at no other 
time. 1 have also been informed by those who have been in 

* Unfortunately the book was rebound, and some of the most important 
notes were cut off. 


his service for fifteen years, that he had never exceeded that 
quantity since they first knew him." 1 Page 17. 
P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 This is a mistake* 

" He smiled and said, 'Sarebbe difficile a credere."* " * Page 

1 P. S. NET'S NOTE. (Shorthand). 

'' ' At Moscow the fire advanced, seized the Chinese and 
India warehouses ; . . . most terrific sight the world ever 
beheld ! ! * Allans docteurS "Page 127. 
P. 8. NET'S NOTE. 1 Grand. 

" ' There was a Major Douglas 1 who behaved very gallantly 
at Acre.'" Page 135. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Sir John Douglas. 

" ' If the government I established had remained best 
thing that ever happened for Spain. ' ' ' 1 Page 136. 
P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 True. 

" ' But Soult did not betray Louis, as has been supposed, 
nor was he privy to my return and landing in France. . . . 
Were I on his jury 1 . . . Ney stated 1 told him so that 
Soult was privy to my return. As to the proclamation 
which Ney said that I had sent him, it is not true. a I 
sent him nothing but orders. I would have stopped the 
proclamation had it been in my power, as it was unworthy 
of me.'" Page 249. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. l Soult is alive f ! f therefore the policy of Napo- 
leon . . . 

8 / do not know exactly "wTio framed the proclamation. But it assuredly 
augmented Bonaparte's army from 3400 to 50,000 in . . .f 

* P. S. Ney is right. See " Memoirs of Duchess d'Abrantes." When 
Napoleon lost Egypt he " ordered three cups of coffee in one hour." On 
board the Northumberland, " coffee was frequently served up to him on 
deck." The Monthly Magazine states that he was "extremely fond of 

f The Duke de Rovigo states that an officer told him that he saw Gen- 
eral Bourmont " drawing up the proclamation in Marshal Ney's quarters." 


" f He [Ney] could not prevent the troops from joining 
me, nor indeed the peasants ; but he went too far. 1 There 
was no plot, no understanding with any of the generals in 
France. 3 Not one of these men knew my intentions. Mouton 
Duvernet and others, because ray having effected.' " Page 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. l An error / / / Too much vanity or disguise. Ney liad 
as much influence- over the troops AS ANY MAN, and acted according to precon- 
certed measures. Ney was ordered by the Bourbons to march against Napoleon 
without coming to Paris, but he did come to Paris to inform the Bonapartists 
of his design of . . . and to preconcert measures; then . . . intention, 
paid his devoirs to Lewis, and promised to bring Bonaparte to Paris in an 
iron cage. No man could use . . . to induce both m . . . 

8 The scheme of the plot was formed before Bonaparte quitted Fountain- 
bleau ! ! ! and communications between B. and some of the generals facili- 
tated by Lavalette before Napoleon re-landed from Elba f ! /* 

" 1 1 have always gone with the opinions of great masses and 
with events. J'ai marche toujours avec Vopinion de cinq ou 
six millions d'hommes. 1 Of what use, then, would crime 
have been to me ? . . . I am not uneasy for the result. Had 
1 succeeded, I should have died with the reputation of the 
greatest man 8 that ever existed. As it is, my ambition was 
great, and caused by the opinions of great bodies. ' ' Page 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. l You will not get "de cinque ou six millions de 
hommes" to agree with you in these assertions and opinions. 

9 All admit you to have been the greatest but not the best. 

" t If ever policy,' continued he, 'authorized a man to 
commit a crime 1 . . . not only did I refuse to consent, but I 
positively prohibited that any attempt of the kind should be 
made. . . . Perhaps my greatest fault was not having de- 
prived the King of Prussia of his throne, which I might easily 

Ney, on his trial, said Napoleon sent him the proclamation. It is not at 
all probable that Ney wrote it. The style is entirely too bombastic and 
wordy. It sounds like Napoleon. The framework of it, to say the least, 
is probably due to Napoleon. Capefigue (" Les Cent Jours") says it was 
" dictated by the Emperor." 
* See Appendix A. 


have done. After Friedland I ought to have taken Silesia and 
. . . from Prussia, and given them to Saxony . . . they would 
have been content.' " 2 Page 262. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. l Your opinion is ill founded the Bourbons . . . 
9 This measure was actually in agitation after tJie battle of Friedland. But 
iJie solemn engagements and importunities of the King. . . . 

" ' Warden has been incorrectly informed that Maret* was 
privy to my return to France. He knew nothing about it, 
and such a statement may injure his relatives .in France. 
He has acted also unguardedly in asserting matters upon the 
authority of Count and Countess Bertrand, as it may cause 
. . . saying that the information came from me. ' ' ' 1 Page 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l This is the real motive which inducts Napoleon to as- 
sert at all . . . 

" ' Ney,' said he, l never made use of haughty language at 
Fontainebleau in my presence ; on the contrary, he was always 
submissive before me, though in my absence he sometimes 
broke out into violence, as he was a man without education. 1 
If he had made use of unbecoming language toward me at 
Fontainebleau, the troops would have torn him to pieces. 2 
Lavalette,' 8 added Napoleon, knew nothing of my return 
from Elba, or of what was hatching there. Madame Lavalette 
was of the family of Beauharnais. She was a very fine 
woman. Louis, my brother, fell in love with her, and wanted 
to have her, to prevent which I caused her to espouse Lava- 
lette, to whom she was much attached. ' ' Page 289. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. 1 He Jiad a good, though not classical education . . . 

2 Indeed. 

3 Lavalette is alive ! ! ! or was at the date of this conversation. It is very 
prudent in Napoleon to say this but Lavalette and Ney knew of and aided 
the Eeturn. 

" Napoleon added that he had never told Ney that he had 
entered France with the privity and support of England ; 

* At Auxerre Napoleon said to Ney, " Write to our friends in Paris. 



that, on the contrary, he had always disclaimed and repro- 
bated the idea of returning by the aid of foreign bayonets, 
and had come purposely to overturn a dynasty upheld by 
them. That all he looked for was the support of the French 
nation. " * Page 289. 

" ' Pichon had been consul in America. He was disgraced 
by me for having embezzled three millions. This Pichon 
published a libel against me, and was afterward sent by me to 
London as a spy at least, he was so far sent by me that I 
suffered it. This man who, in 1814, had written such a libel 
against me, went, in 1815, as a spy for the police of the very 
person whom he had so grossly libelled.' " ' Page 295. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 This is greatly to be doubted. 

" ' I knew of Bulow's arrival 1 at eleven o'clock ; but I did 
not regard it. I had still eighty chances out of a hundred in 
my favor.' "Page 299. 

P. 8. NET'S NOTE. l He could not have known of Bulow's arrival at so 
early an hour, for the Prussians did not arrive before 3 P.M., and then the 
greater part of the reserve were ordered to oppose . . . 

" 4 These were the two principal causes of the loss of the 
battle of Waterloo i 1 (1) Tardiness and neglect of Grouchy, and 
(2) the Reserve engaged without orders and without my knowl- 
edge.' "Page 300. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. ! Blucher came in about sunset with 10,000 fresh 
troops which decided the . . . which was the reason that Bonaparte had no re- 
serve to meet the British Cavalry\ . . . simultaneous movement . . . nearly 
dark at this time perhaps Napoleon did not distinctly observe the commence- 
ment of these. . . . The fact is, that on the retreat of tJie old guards each 
offr. acted for himself. 

* Marshal Ney on his trial said that Napoleon wrote to him that he had 
left Elba with the knowledge and consent of England. Napoleon here 
denies the truth of this assertion. It is probable that Napoleon is right, 
as P. S. Ney has no observation to make on Napoleon's statement. 

f Napoleon himself, it appears, sent off his reserve, or the greater part 
of it, to oppose the Prussians. Who believes his statement that they 
" engaged without orders, and without his knowledge" f 


" ' The Doctor in his book makes me say that I never com- 
mitted a useless crime. 1 I never committed a crime.' " 
Page 302. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l few will acquiesce with you in saying that you 
never committed A CRIME. It must be granted that none in your situation 
could have committed FEWER CRIMES. It would be blind adulation to say 
less. But, " Cur non dices veritatem" ? 

" * Is this the result of the conduct of a merciless, unfeeling 
tyrant . . . but I never employed crime or assassination 
to forward it ... le mensonge pape, la verite reste 1 . . . 

like Lord C 3 . . . Vest un homme ignoble^ ' 

Page 302. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. * Falsehood will die, and truth live. 


3 He is a base man. 

" ( . . . To believe that abstaining from flesh and eating 
fish, which is so much more delicate and delicious, constitutes 
fasting ! Povero homo. 1 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l Poor men. 

" l If Hoche had arrived, Ireland was lost to you. ' " 1 Page 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l The ships were taken by the British. 

" ( If the Irish had sent over honest men to me, I would 
have certainly made an attempt upon Ireland. 1 But I had 
no confidence. . . .' " Page 312. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. ! Naper Tandy was an intelligent, active man, and 
an Envoy from Ireland to France. 

" * The King's legs are covered with ulcers, which are dressed 
for him by the Duchess of Angouleme. He gorges . . . 
When I returned to the Tuileries I found my apartments 
poisoned with the smell of his legs, and of divers sulphureous 
baths which he was in the habit of using.' " * Page 314. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 These observations are beneath the dignity of Napo- 
leon, though correct in point of fact. 


11 ' . . . with the body of a beautiful dancer, but per Dio ' 
... To the Emperor and to the Prince de Neufchatel' " ' 
Page 316. 

P. S. NEY'S NOTES. 1 By God. 
8 Marshal Berthier. 

" I took the liberty to observe that it might naturally be sup- 
posed . . . ' Yes,' replied Napoleon, ' I would strictly have 
complied with that treaty. 1 I would not have made it myself, 
but finding it made [Treaty of Paris], 1 would have adhered 
to it. '" Page 317. 

P. S. KEY'S NOTE. 1 In fact the Return of Napoleon was preconcerted at 
fontainbkau before the signature. . . . 

"1 then asked who in his opinion now was the first. 1 
. . . ' Suchet, Clausel, Gerard are in my opinion the first 
of the French generals.' a . . . He also mentioned Soult in 
terms of praise.' " 'Page 318. 

P. S. NEY'S NOTES. N. B. Kleber, Dessaix, Ney, Duroc, Hoche, etc., are 
now dead. . . . 
* Now. 
8 He merited them. 

" * Before I went to Elba, Lord Castlereagh said to Caulain- 
court, ' Why does Napoleon think of going to Elba ? Let 
him come to England ... he will be received with the 
greatest joy, and be much better than at Elba. This,' added 
he, ' had much influence with me afterward.' " ' Page 321. 

P. S. NEY'S NOTE. ! And would haw "been accepted then only for the se- 
cret design formed in concert with his officers at fontainbkau to Return to 
France. . . . 

" ' . . . I should have extinguished her like that ' (raising 
one of his feet, and stamping as if he were putting out the snuff 
of a candle). ' I could, ' continued he, ' have dethroned the 
King of Prussia or the Emperor of Austria upon the slightest 
pretext as easily as I do this ' (stretching out one of his legs). 
( I was then too powerful for any man except myself to injure 
me .' 1 Page 322. 
P. S. NEY'S NOTE. 1 This is the true spirit of the man. 



" . . . Following tenor relative to Metternich : ' One or 
two lies are sometimes necessary, but Metternich is all lies 
nothing but lies, lies, lies from him. ' Napoleon laughed and 
said : < (Test vraiS " ' Page 323. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 It is true. 


" ' . . . You say that it has been stipulated that only 
prisoners, and not slaves, are in future to be made. ... I 
fear much that if any difference be made ... I think that 
your ministers ordered Lord Exmouth not to endeavor to abol- 
ish piracy altogether, but merely to give it a check, to punish 
the Algerines in a certain degree.' " ' Page 325. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Solid Remarks. 

" ' You say that you lost a thousand men in killed and dis- 
abled, and got five or six ships knocked to pieces. Now the 
lives and limbs of a thousand brave English seamen are of 
more value and consequence than the whole of the piratical 
States. 1 Blockading the port with a seventy-four and two or 
three frigates under Captains Usher or Maitland would have 
gained you just as good terms as you have got without the 
loss of a man. . . .'"Page 326. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l . . . Come with an ill grace from a man who was 
never remarkable for preventing Bloodshed. 

" . . . Lord Cornwallis, to which his Excellency [Lowe] 
replied that Lord Cornwallis 1 was too honest a man to deal with 
him ! ! ! . . . This man never could have been brought 
up in good company, and has Vair* d'un sons lieutenant de 
Vancien regime" Page 328. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. l Lowe confesses his own . . . 
2 +-h a mn/nmoi n f f O ift Government. 

Qtay. XJiXIX. 


officer retired, and llie Russian batteries opened a fire of grape-shot, at the 
distance of only two hundred and fifty yards, while at the concussion the mist 
arose, and showed the devoted column of French, with a ravine in front man- 
ned by their enemies, subjected on every side to a fire of artillery, while the 
hills were black with the Russian troops placed to support their guns. Far 
from losing heart in so perilous a situation, the French Guards, with rare in- 
trepidity, forced their way through the ravine of the Losrnina, and rushed with 
the utmost fury on the Russian batteries. They were, however, charged in 
their turn with the bayonet, and such as had crossed the stream suffered 
dreadfully. In spite of this failure, Ney persevered in the attempt to cut' his 
passage by main force through this superior body of Russians, who lay opposed 
to him in front. Again the French advanced upon the cannon, losing whole 
ranks, which were supplied by their comrades a fast as (hey fell. The assault 
was once more unsuccessful, and Ney, seeing that the general fate of his column 
was no longer doubtful, endeavoured at least to save a part from the wreck. 
! laving selects >ur thousand of the beat mc'nj he separated himself 

from the rest, and' set forlh under shelter of the night, moving to the rear, as 
if about to return to Smolensk. This, indeed, was the only road open to him, 
but he did not pursue it long ; for as soon as he reached a rivulet, which had 
the appearance of being one of the feeders of trie Dnieper, he adopted it for 
his guide to the banks of that river, which he reached in safety near the village 
of Syrokovenia. Here he found a single place in the river frozen over, though 
the ice was so thin that it bent beneath the steps of the soldiers. 

Three hours Were permitted, to allow stragglers from the column during the 
night-march to rally at this place; should their good fortune enable them to find 
it. These three hours Ney spent in profound sleep, lying on the banks of the 
river, and wrapped up in his cloak. When the stipulated time had elapsed, 
the passage to the other side began and continued, although the motion of the 
ice, and the awful sounds of its splitting into large cracks, prevented more than 
one from crossing at once. The wagons, some loaded with sick and wounded, 
last attempted to pass ; but the ice broke with them, and the heavy plunge and 
stifled moaning, apprised their companions of their fate. The Cossacks, as 
usual, speedily appeared in the rear, gleaned up some hundreds of prisoners, 
and took possession of the artillery and baggage. 


nation, instead ot brutitying them, by ignorance and su- 

" Those English," added he, " who are lovers of li- 
berty will one day lament with tears having gained the 
battle of Waterloo. It was as fatal to the liberties of 




" 21st April, 1817, 1 Napoleon has been for some days in 
very good spirits. On Saturday, the 19th, some captains ..." 
Page 1. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Voila I'homme ! 

" . . . The charlatans 1 will kill . . . Moliere's doc- 
tors/' 3 Page 3. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES.* Quacks. 
f Women. 

" 4 When at Elba the Princess of Wales informed me of 
her intention to visit me. ... 1 knew that at the time it 
could not fail to injure the princess [Queen Caroline], and 
therefore I put it off. It is astonishing that she desired it, 
for she had no reason to be attached to me, as her father and 
brother were killed fighting against me. l She went afterward 

to see Marie Louise at , a and I believe that they are great 

friends.' "Page 21. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. 1 Her Brother, the Due de Brunswick, was killed on 
the \st day of the Battle of Waterloo at Quatre Bras ; subsequent to the 
period alluded to He was with Wellington's Right Wing in advance. 

2 Young Napoleon and Billy Austin, Caroline's adopted son, used to play 
andfrequentlyjight. Billy was stronger, but Nap more active. 

" During the conversation I mentioned that Bernadotte 1 
had been strongly suspected of being lukewarm in the cause 
of the allies, . . . and supposed to be likely to join him 
if any reverse happened." Page 27. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l Bernadotte was subsidised by England [with] 1 mill- 
ion per month. He at last advanced with 60,000 men; to him was chiefly 
owing the victory at Leipsig. 

His previous knowledge of Bonaparte's tactics and Dispositions in Battle 
give him great ascendency . . . Napoleon . . . 

" ' Murat's boiling courage carried him into the midst of 
the enemy, couvert de pennes jusqu^au clocher, and glitter- 
ing with gold, ... he was a paladin in fact, a Don 


Quixote in the field ; but take him into the Cabinet, he was 
a poltroon, without judgment or decision. Murat and Ney 1 
were the bravest men 1 ever witnessed.' " Page 61. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Ney could both act in the field and the Cabinet 
without his previous arrangements and subsequent . . . observation. Bona- 
parte . . . O'Meara makes Napoleon say that Ney betrayed him at Fontain- 
bleau! Bah! his having first joined him with 36,000 men wJien he had it in 
his power to capture B. refutes that insinuation. 

" c Murat, however, was a much nobler character than Ney. 
Murat was generous and open. Ney partook of the canaille. ' ' ' l 
Page 62. 
P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Bah! 

" Josephine died worth about eighteen millions of francs." * 
Page 64. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 18,000,000 X 10 = 
12)180,000,000 pence 

750,000 sterling. 

" Josephine was grace personified. She had grace even en 
se couchant. 1 Her toilet was a perfect arsenal." Page 65. 
P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 In bed. 

" Napoleon gazed on the statue of his son with great satis- 
faction and delight, his face strongly expressive of paternal 
love. No person who witnessed this scene could deny that 
Napoleon was animated by the tender affections of a father." 
Page 66. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. ! Yet the American Reviewer says that Napoleon had 
no sympathy! Ecce! 

" 6 What reason had Murat to complain of the Emperor of 
Austria, who had behaved generously and offered him an 
asylum ; ... as Murat had endeavored to deprive him of 
Italy. 1 Murat behaved like a madman ; he engaged without 
judgment in an expedition without a plan. ... In his procla- 

P. S. NET'S NOTE.- 1 


mations to the Italians he never mentioned my name, though 
he knew they adored me.' He terminated his life like a mad- 
man. '" 'Page 67. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES.-* Oho!* 

* Murat died like a Gallant Soldier on the Ruins of his throne. . . . 

" ' I ought to have died at Waterloo. But the misfortune 
is, that when a man seeks the most for death he cannot find it. 
Men were killed around me, before, behind, everywhere, but 
no bullet for me.' " ' Page 69. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 True. 

" I told him that in Lord 's 1 speech there were three 

calumnies and ten lies." Page 70. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE.' B 's. 

" ' I was called to that of France by the votes of nearly 
four millions of Frenchmen.' " ' Page 72. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Potts gave more. 

" The Emperor was so firmly impressed with the idea that 
an attempt would be made forcibly to intrude on his privacy, 
that ... he always kept four or five loaded pistols and 
some swords in his apartments, with which he was determined 
to dispatch the first who entered against his will." ' Page 85. 
P. S. NET'S NOTE. l He might haw been disarmed. 

" Napoleon then said that, notwithstanding the occupation 
of Paris by the allies, he should still have succeeded but for 
the treachery of Marmont. He was to have entered Paris in 
the dead of the night. ' The canaille were all ready (I think 
he also said he would have cut off the allies from their park 
of artillery)." Page 100. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Napoleon, Ney and others did aproach the lines 

* P. S. Ney is right. The Italians did not " adore" Napoleon. They 
hated him because of his tyranny and his vile treatment of the Pope. See 
Thiers' " History of the Consulate and the Empire," and Ney's letter to 
Napoleon after the battle of Dennewitz. 


in the middle of the night to reconnoitre,* and found it prudent to retire and 
abandon the plan of surprise. 

" The English cavalry approached to within a hundred or 
a hundred and fifty toises of the spot where the Emperor was 
standing with only Soult, 1 Drouot, Bertrand, and himself, 
. . . exclaiming, 'llfaut mourir id, ilfaut mourir sur 
le champ de bataille. ' " 2 Page 103. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. ! Soult was not in the battle. Certainly. 
a He shall die by a blow at once. He shall die on the field of Battle. 

" ' . . . or in the hope that I might commit suicide. 
The fact is, that had it not been for their broils and quarrels 
among themselves, 1 should never have thought of dispossess- 
ing them ' : [the Spaniards]. I said that some of the publica- 
tions against him asserted that he had been the contriver of 
the whole plot." Page 107. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. ! Vide Vol. I. The intentions of Napoleon with re- 
gard to Spain. These two statements are irreconcilable. Bonaparte cer- 

" c In some respects Robespierre may be said to have been 
an honest man. 1 All the crimes committed by Hebert, 
Chaumette . . . When I commanded the Army of Italy, 
Barras made the Venetian Ambassador . . . with which 1 
[here he made use of a most significant gesture]. 8 I never 
paid any attention to such letters.' " Page 109. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. ! Yes, if honesty means to be sincere in the most fla- 
gitious crimes and . . . 
3 Drawn to the life. 

* We know certainly that Marshal Ney was at Fontainebleau on the 
night of April 5th. He had a long private interview with Napoleon, and 
one of the subjects discussed was that of Marmont's defection. Thiers 
says, "It is difficult to know what passed in this interview. Marshal 
Ney has left no written record, and Napoleon in his St. Helena memoirs 
has observed a profound silence on the subject." 

It is very probable the " scheme of the plot to return from Elba" was 
then considered, and that the reconnoissance by " Napoleon, Ney, and 
others," was made during the night. About this time it was officially 
reported at the headquarters of the Emperor Alexander that Napoleon 


" 'Barr&re f parceque c*est un homme sans caractere. 1 Car- 
not, dest le plus honnete des hommes.* Madame Campan,' 
continued Napoleon, ' had a very indifferent opinion of Marie 
Antoinette. She told me that a person well known . . . 
but discovered a pair of breeches, 3 . . . which were im- 
mediately recognized.' "Page 110. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. * Because he is a man without character. 
1 He is the most honest of the . . . 
3 Unworthy Repetition. 

6 Fouche, ' added he, ( never was my confidant. Never 
did he approach me without bending to the ground. For 
him I never had esteem. . . . He never was in a situation 
to demand my confidence, or even to speak to me without 
being questioned, nor had he the talents requisite for it. 1 
Not so Talleyrand. V Page 111. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 The ablest Minister of Police that ever lived. 

" The princes and chief mandarins performed the Jco-tou. 
The English and Russian ambassadors ought to have done 
the same. The Emperor of China had a right to require it. 
If a Chinese ambassador were received in London, he would 
have no right to perform the Ico-tou. He ought to follow 
the same etiquette as that observed by the princes, . . . 
which would be the English ko-tou. 1 The simple principle 
that in negotiations as well as in etiquette the ambassador 
does not represent the sovereign, and has only a right to ex- 
perience the same treatment as the highest grandee of the 
place, clears up the whole of the question, and removes every 
difficulty." ' Page 113. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. ! Damn such frippery. 
8 Certainly. 

had fled from Fontainebleau with fifty mounted Chasseurs of his guard. 
Macdonald in his " Memoirs" alludes to this report. He says that he does 
not know how it originated ; that he was never " able to get to the bottom 
of the story." I have little doubt that it had its origin in the reconnois- 
sance of which P. S. Ney speaks. 


" ' The time for libels against me is past. A moderate 
criticism upon my actions . . . than all the furious dia- 
tribes in the Quarterly Review style. 

" ( Fouche, if even so inclined, never would have dared to 
do it. He knew me too well. 1 The fact is, that Wright 
killed himself. That Fouche may have threatened him, 2 
with a view of extracting discoveries, is possible.'" Page 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. * Midshipman Mansel, who was captured with Capt. 
Wright and imprisoned in the next room to him, stated on his return to Eng- 
land that he often heard Captain W. 's groans as if in agony and . . . to 
rack. That one night Capt. W. after giving some directions touching his 
family affairs, etc., said that he had fallen into the hands of cruel Enemies, 
and would never more see England as he had but a short time to live. Such 
was the Report circulated by Mansel. The French Government . . . com- 
mitted suicide. 

2 And also tortured him ! 

" c Sidney Smith knew, from having been so long in the 
Temple, 1 that it was impossible to have assassinated a pris- 
oner ' [Wright]. I give this report as an on dit" 2 Page 117. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. 1 Whence he escaped and crossed the British Channel 
in a small boat. 
2 As reported. 

(Note at bottom.) ". . . And only surpassed by the mani- 
festation of generosity which he [Wellington] displayed in 
the fate of his old antagonist Ney. " 1 Page 118. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l Viz., Wellington had military occupation of Paris 
when Ney was tried. The Bourbons refused in evidence the 12 Article of the 
Capitulation of Paris stipulating a general amnesty signed by Blucher, Wel- 
lington and the Bonapartists. Ney called upon Wellington to cause the 12 
article to be complied with on his trial. Wellington replied tliat he had no au- 
thority to interfere with the acts of the Bourbons! ! ! Though by virtue of 
that very Capitulation which he had signed they could , , , Ney was sacri- 

" I observed that 1 had been told by some English officers, 
who had been present at the battle of Albuera, that if Mar- 
shal Soult had advanced after the attack made by the lancers, 

lowea ineiarrest, ana tne execution me mai, was an outrage upon nuinanuy. 
On the trial no witnesses were produced, nor did any investigation take place, 
saving by the interrogation of the prisoner. Whatever points of accusation, 
. therefore, are not established by the admission of the duke himself, must be 
considered as totally unproved. Yet this unconscientious tribunal not only 
found their prisoner guilty of having borne arms against die Republic, which 
he readily admitted, but of having placed himself at the head of a party of 
French emigrants in the pay of England, and carried on machinations for sur- 
prising the cityiof Strasburg; charges which he liimself positively denied, and 
which were supported by no proof whatsoever. 

Buonaparte, well aware of the total irregularity of the proceedings in this 
extraordinary ease, seems, on some occasions, to have wisely renounced any 
attempt to defend what he must have been convinced was indefensible, and has 
vindicated his conduct upon general grounds, of a nature well worthy of notice. 
It seems that, when he^poke of the death of the Duke d'Enghien among his 
attendants, he always chose to represent it as a case falling under the ordinary 
forms of law, in which all regularity was observed, and where^ though he might 
be accused of severity, he could not be charged with violation of justice. This 
was safe language to hearers from whom he was sure to receive neither objec- 
tion nor contradiction, and is just an instance of an attempt, on the part of a 
consciously guilty party, to establish, by repeated asseverations, an innocence 
which was inconsistent with fact. But with strangers, from whom replies and 
argument miffht be expected, Napoleon took broader grounds. He alleged 
the death of the Duke d'Enghien to be an act of self-defence, a measure of 
state polity, arising out of the natural rights of humanity, by which a man, to 
save his own life, is entitled to take away that of another. " I was assailed," 
he said, " on all hands by the enemies whom the Bourbons raised up against 
me; threatened with air-guns, infernal machines, and deadly stratagems of 
every kind. I had no tribunal on earth to which I could appeal for protection, 
therefore I had a right to protect myself; and by putting to death one of those 
whose followers threatened my life, I was entitled to strike a salutary terror 
into the others. 

We have no doubt that, in this argument, which is in the original much < 
tended, Buonaparte explained his real motives ; at least we can only add to thorn 

timulus of obstinate resentment, and implacable revenge. But the wi; 
resolves itself into an allegation of that state necessity, winch has been justly 

Ov X* o\>*~ -"xv* ( * : 



lie would have cut the English Army to pieces. ' Napoleon 
acquiesced in this, and said that he had censured Soult for 
having neglected to do so. . . . Graham, he observed, was a 
daring old man, and asked if he were not the same who had 
commanded in the affair near Cadiz.' ' 9 Page 124. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. J The Polish Lancer* charged through the British 
lines and threw tliem into great disorder ; then took a position in their rear. 
A thick shower of rain concealed the effects of this movement from Soult, and 
when it cleared up, it was too late to take advantage of it. The lancers, not 
being supported, had to sustain a furious assault from the Reserve and left 
wing, and were dreadfully cut up . . . Retreated with the* . . . 

8 Yes, beat Victor. 

" I mentioned Toussaint L'Ouverture, and observed that 
some of his enemies had asserted that he had caused him to 
be put to death privately in prison. * It does not deserve an 
answer, ' replied Napoleon. ' Had he died in St. Domingo, 
then, indeed, something might have been suspected ; but 
after he had safely arrived in France, what object could have 
been in view ? ' " 'Page 127. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. * None. But Jiis imprisonment was a great crime. 

" t Indeed the nation had la rage to regain St. Domingo, 
and I was obliged to comply with it ; but had I, previous to 
the peace, acknowledged the blacks, I could under that plea 
have refused to make any attempts to retake it ; in doing 
which I acted contrary to my own judgment.' " 'Page 
P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Why ? 

" i Nothing ever done by your ministers enraged the French 
and other nations against them so much as their system of 
pontons.' " 'Page 129. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 He cannot forget the pontons, neither will the Ameri- 
cans forget the British . . . 

* Massena and Ney had their well-known quarrel a short time before 
the battle of Albuera was fought. Massena deprived Ney of his com- 
mand, and sent him into the interior of Spain to await the Emperor's 
orders. Ney doubtless went to Soult's headquarters, and was there when 
the battle took place. 


" He then made some remarks upon the Manuscrit venu 
de Ste. Helene. ' The Edinburgh Review J said he, ' will find 
out directly that I am not the author of it.' " 1 Page 131. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. x Great compliment to the Edinburgh Reviewers. 

" ' It is, however, composed with good intentions toward 
me. If I had written a work of the kind, it would indeed 
be different. Every line of it would be a subject of discussion 
for nations.' " Page 132. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l Aye, aye. 

" Count Montholon called Captain Blakeney and myself 
this day to look at the state of his apartments. The walls 
were damp and cold to the touch. I never saw a human 
habitation in a more mouldy or humid state. 1 

P.S.NET's NOTE.- 1 fye. 

" Napoleon said that a man's conscience was not to be 
amenable to any tribunal ; that no person ought to be account- 
able to any earthly power for his religious opinions." ' 
Page 135. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 This sentiment forms the very Essence of toleration. 

" ' Sir Hudson said I might have books in my rooms, to 
be shown to the French, of a very improper tendency, which 
they might read in my absence.' " 1 Page 137. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 This is like the pope's prohibiting the Laity from 
Reading the holy Scriptures. 

" Napoleon then rallied me upon my supposed attention to 
Miss ." 1 Page 140. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 K Balcome. 

" That circumstance of the dejeune de trois amis 1 I never 
told to any person.' " Page 144. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. ! 3 young friends. 


" * After the abdication at Fontainebleau, upward of forty 
millions of francs, my private property, was seized. Of this 
money, about five-and- twenty millions were divided 1 among 
T , M , H , and .' "Page 146. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l Talleyrand, Metternich, Hardenburg and Castle- 

" * Judging from Wellington's actions, from his dispatches, 
and, above all, from his conduct toward Key, I should pro- 
nounce him to be un homme de pen d' esprit sans generosite 1 
et sans grandeur d'ame.' " Page 147. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE.' A man of little wit, devoid of generosity, and with- 

" ( You ought not to suffer the Americans to send a ship 
there ;' you give up Batavia to the Dutch. . . . After my fall 
you might have had anything you liked* to ask for.' " Page 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. 1 TTiey would find it difficult to prevent tTiat. 
8 Not from the Americans. 

" ' I disagreed with him [the admiral], and thought him un 
homme dur, 1 still I felt confidence in his character and in- 

" ( Had I any intention of committing suicide, a pistol 
would be my resource. Je rfaime pas la longue guerre.' " * 
Page 154. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 A rude man. 

P. S. NET'S SHORTHAND NOTE.' 1 am not a friend of long wars. 

" ' The French admiral was an imbecile, but yours was just 
as bad. ' I assure you that if Cochrane had been supported, 
he would have taken every one of the ships.' " Page 186. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Admiral Qambier. 
" l The Pope proposed to me to canonize Bounaventura 


Bonaparte. " Saint Pere," said I, "pour V amour de Dwu 
epargnez moi le ridicule de cela" " l Page 189. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l Holy Father, for the love of God, spare me ihe 
ridicule of that. 

" Lieutenant-General Sir Hudson Lowe, K.C.B., 1 etc., was 
duped." Page 191. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Knight Commander of the Bath. 

" 1 asked him if he believed that ' was privy to the 

death of ." a Page 215. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. 1 Alexr. 
2 his father. 

" But in truth there was nothing to be feared from France 
under any sovereign. Until she has an army of five hundred 
thousand men France is not to be dreaded. " * Page 216. 

P. S. NET' NOTE. 1 She brought kingdoms to her feet with half of that 

" < There was nothing to be feared from me, for if I had 
attempted new conquests, the opinion which brought me back 
from Elba would have thrown me to the ground again. 1 

" e Massena lost himself in the campaign of Portugal. If 
he had been what he formerly was he would have followed 
"Wellington so closely as to be able to attack him while enter- 
ing the lines before Lisbon, before he could have taken up 
his position properly.' " 'Page 217. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. 1 Certainly. 

8 The heights of Busaco and Torres Vederas were previously fortified by the 
British and Portuguese, by a succession of circumvallations . . . the Enemy 
. . . Ney, D'Erlon and many others were present whose conduct and courage 
have never been questioned. If Bonaparte himself had been there he would 
have been . . . months before the place and his convoys and communications 
cut off. 

" c Twenty-one guns were to have been fired for the birth 
of a princess, and one hundred and one for a prince. At the 
discharge of the twenty-second gun the Parisians rent the 


skies with acclamations and expressions of universal delight. * 
Almost all the powers of Europe sent ambassadors extraor- 
dinary.' "Page 233. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l The same Parisians rent tJie air with vivt la He- 
publique ! Vive le premier consul / . . . 

" ' It has been said,' added Napoleon, ' that the marriage 
of Marie Louise was one of the secret articles of the Treaty 
of Vienna, which had taken place some months before. This 
is entirely false. In fact, the marriage with the Empress 
Marie Louise was proposed in council, discussed, decided, 
and signed within twenty-four hours, which can be proved by 
many members of the council 1 who are now in existence.' " 
Page 235. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 They did so decide on the proposition made by Napo- 
leon himself. But no report ever gained more credit in . . . 

" ' Those English,' added he, ( who are lovers of liberty, 
will one day lament with tears having gained the battle of 
Waterloo. l It was as fatal to the liberties of Europe in its 
effects as that of Philippi was to those of Rome.'" Page 

P. S. NET'S NOTE.' Oui en veritf, wus et moi nous sommes d'accord 
malgre tout le monde. 

" ' It [the victory at Waterloo] has precipitated Europe 
into the hands of triumvirs, associated together for the op- 
pression of mankind, the suppression of knowledge, and the 
restoration of superstition.' " ' Page 244. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 HolylAlliance. 

" The Emperor then shook me by the hand and embraced 
me, saying, 'Adieu, 1 O'Meara, nous ne nous reverrons 
jamais encore. Soyez heureux. ' 3 ' a Page 264. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. l Adieu. L' honneur au rewir O'Meara unehomme 
a recompenzer. C'est une affaire a la perdre avec le Roi sotte d'Angleterre. 
H. Lowe C'est le plus mechant ; il seriot retranche dela . . . malheureux. . . . 

3 God be with you, O'Meara. We shall never meet again. May you be 


" c The instructions which I [Lowe] have received from 
the British Government direct me to limit the expenditure of 
General Bonaparte's establishment to 8000 per annum ; they 
give me liberty at the same time to admit of any further ex- 
pense being incurred, provided he furnishes the funds whereby 
the surplus charges may be defrayed. 5 55 * Page 284. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l T7ie object was evidently to discover what funds 
Bonaparte had at his command in Europe. 

" Supplies for General Bonaparte daily : 

Meat, beef and mutton included (Ibs.) 82 

Fowls (no.) 6 

Bread (Ibs.) 66 

Butter (Ibs.) 5 

Lard (Ibs.) 5 

Salad oils (pints) , 3 J 

Sugar candy (Ibs.) 4 

Coffee (Ibs.) 2 

Tea, green (Ibs.) J 

Tea, black (Ibs.) \ 

Candles, wax (Ibs.) 8 

Eggs (no.) 30 

Common sugar (Ibs.) 5 

Cheese (Ibs.) 1 

Vinegar (qts.) 1 

Flour (Ibs.) 5 

'Salt meat (Ibs.) 6 

Fire wood (cwt.) 3 

Porter or ale (bottles). 3 

Vegetables (in value) 11. 

Fruit (in value) 10s. 

Confectionery (in value) 8s. 

Champagne or Vin de grave (bottles) 1 

Madeira (bottles) 1 

Constantia (bottles) . 1 

Claret (bottles) 6 m 

Page 287. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l Ecce! Sir Hudson is Deputy Butler to the Prince 
Regent, who acts as chief . . . 

ktaKen a position in tne rear oi a piece ot woods which se- 
cured their flanks, the), mail. tained il until n'uht. Wey 
fixed his head quarters ai Quatre Bras, Ins line being: two 
ca.nnon slrot distant from the enemy. lie was ( on>ed by 
>unt Erion \vlth the corps of reserve. The los-s of the 
English troops was estimated at 9000; that of the French 
at 3400. -a^_ 

The night of the sixteenth and seventeenth, the third 
corps of the French army rested on its arms on the field of 
bittle in advance of St. Amand ; the fourth corps in ad- 
vance of Ligny ; marshal Grouchy at Sombref, and the 
sixth corps in reserve behind Li^ny. The Prussians re- 
treated in t\vo columns towards Wav res, where the fourth 
corps under general Bulow arrived from Liege about 1 ! 
: >ck at night. The dispersed Prussians covered the 
country like a swarm of locusts, and committed dreadful 
ivages. The defeat of the Prussians occasioned great 
>y to the inhabitants on the left bank of the Rhine. 

The duke of Wellington had reached and passed the 
night #t Quatre Bras ; where his troops, exhausted and 
fatigued, continued to arrive. They had been on their 
march since the night of the fifteenth. 

At break of day on the seventeenth, general Pajol, with 
the 6th corps, and a division of light cavalry was ordered 
pursue the Prussians in the direction of Wavres ; and 
irshal Ney received orders to march at day break on 
>uatre Bras, and attack the rear-guard of the English. 
Count Lobau was directed to march by the road of jjte 
mur, towards the same place, to aid the'attack of mai^l- * 
Ney. Marshal Grouchy with the third and fourth corps 

^ cv;>\H.n, ,v^^k 





:c ' You ask me, sir, est ce d ce gue ces objets ne sont pas ar- 
rives parle canal du ministref ' " etc. 1 Page 296. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. ' Is it on account tJiat these things have not arrived 
through the medium of the Minister? 

" * You observe, sir, 1 Servit ceparcegue sur les jettons il y 
a une couronne, etc. 

" ' Vous n'avez pas le droit d'enfaire.* 

" ' ISEmpereur ne veut de grace,' " " etc. Page 298. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. l Can it be because a crown surmounts the counters f 
a You have not the right to make , . . 
* The Emperor begs no favor. 

" ' . . . not execute my duty as a consigned 

" ' Aucune inspection directe oupublique? 

" ' EEmpereur me charge de protester contre V existence de 
toute restriction.* 

" ' Your most obedient and humble servant, 

" ' H. LOWE, laeutenant-General.' ' 
Page 299. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. 1 An agent. 

8 No personal inspection, immediate or public. 

8 Tlie Shnperor directs me to denounce the existence of all restriction. 

4 Ou il est mechant, ou il estfou. 

Fais ce 

" ' Do your duty, come what may [Bertrand]. 1 
gue tu dois ; a advienne guepourraS " Page 304. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES.' Bravo ! 
* je ne la croyois pas si brave or aussi brave qu'il est beaucoup plus grand 

" The powers declare that Napoleon Bonaparte is placed 
out of the pale of civil and social relations ; and that as an 
enemy and disturber of the world he is delivered up to pub- 
lic vengeance !" 



Then follow the signatures : 


Le Prince de Metternich. 

ia \ 

\ Le Baron de "Wessemberg. 

Spain P. Gomez Labrador. 

Le Prince de Talleyrand. 9 


Great Britain -< 

Le Due d'Alberg. 

Latour Dupin. 

Le Comte Alexis de Noailles. 


Sweden Lowenheim. * 

Page 306. 

1 Pandemonium 







9 (Talleyrand's portrait is "here drawn a caricature, yet a striking like- 

3 ( A fair portrait of Wellington is here drawn it is slightly caricatured. 
At Wellington's mouth is the word oui.) 

4 ... toute merite au . . . au pendere. 

" ( I came voluntarily on board of the Bellerophon. I am 
not the prisoner, but the guest of England. I appeal to his- 
tory.' " ' Page 307. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l You have no reason. History speaks regardless of 



Mr. S. A. Kelley, Charlotte, N. C., owns a copy of Scott's 
" Life of Napoleon" (published in three volumes by J. P. 
Ayres, Philadelphia, 1827), which contains some notes of 
great value written by Peter S. Ney. Of this book Mr. 
Kelley says : "It originally belonged to my father, who 
lived in Mocksville, N. C. When Peter S. Ney taught 
school near Mocksville he was a frequent visitor at my father's 
house. He borrowed Scott's " Life of Napoleon," and 
while it was in his possession wrote the notes which the book 
contains. The first volume contained a steel engraving of 
Napoleon. P. S. Ney wrote underneath the portrait : ' This 
is not a correct likeness of Napoleon.' ' 

On a fly-leaf of the first volume P. S. Ney wrote : " This 
book should be thrown in the fire. P. S. Ney." (P. S. 
Ney in shorthand.) On a fly-leaf of the second volume 
P. S. Ney wrote : " This book should be read with great 
caution, for it contains more falsehoods than facts. P. S. 
Ney." (P. S. Ney in shorthand.) 

" It is little more than a historical romance, P. S. N." 
(P. S. N. in shorthand.) 


u On the trial [of the Duke D'Enghien] no witnesses 
were produced, nor did any investigation take place, saving 
by the interrogation of the prisoner. Whatever points of 
accusation, therefore, are not established by the admission of 
the duke himself must be considered as totally unproved. 1 

" Yet this unconscientious tribunal not only found their 
prisoner guilty of having borne arms against the republic, 
which he readily admitted, but of having placed himself at 
the head of a party of French emigrants in the pay of Eng- 
land, and carried on machinations for surprising the city of 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Bah! 


Strassburg charges which he himself positively denied, and 
which were supported by no proof whatsoever." 2 Page 


P. S. NET'S NOTE. a A large bundle of Proclamations, calling on the 
French to rise in arms against Napoleon, were found in the Duke's bureau 
when arrested !* 

" The prince may be lamented who is exposed, from civil 
disaffection, to the dagger of the assassin, but his danger gives 
him no right to turn such a weapon even against the indi- 
vidual person by whom it is pointed at him. 1 

" In every point of view the act was a murder ; 3 and the 
stain of the Duke D'Enghien's blood must remain indelibly 
upon Napoleon Bonaparte. " 8 Page 49. 
P. S. NET'S NOTES. 1 Why? 

a NO. 

" General indignation of Europe, in consequence of the 
murder 1 of the Duke D'Enghien." Page 52. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l Execution. 

" A single Russian officer appeared, and invited Ney to 
capitulate. ' A marshal of France never surrenders,' an- 
swered that intrepid general. The officer retired. 1 . . . 
Miloradovitch lay here at the head of a great force. " Page 


P. S. NET'S NOTE. l The officer was not suffered to retire, for during the 
parley a volley of grape was fired from Russian cannon, and he was dis- 
armed and detained for this violation of tJie flag of truce. Mttoradovitcli 
wished to prevent any terms offered by Koutousoff then present. (Shorthand. f) 

" The hills were black with the Russian troops. . . . 
Far from losing heart in so perilous a situation, the French 
Guards, with rare intrepidity, forced their way through the 
ravine of the Losmina, and rushed with the utmost fury on 

* Colonel Ordener, who arrested the Duke D'Enghien, said : " I found 
in his house sacks of papers sufficient to compromise the half of France." 

f " The world he for this reason caused by fealty to be veered." De- 
ciphered by one of P. S. Ney's pupils. 


the Russian batteries. . . . Ney persevered in the attempt 
to cut his passage by main force through this superior body 
of Russians, who lay opposed to him in front. Again the 
French advanced upon the cannon, losing whole ranks, which 
were supplied by their comrades as fast as they fell. The 
assault was once more unsuccessful, and Ney, seeing that the 
general fate of his column was no longer doubtful, endeav- 
ored at least to save a part from the wreck. Having selected 
about four thousand of the best men he separated himself 1 
from the rest. . . . Here he found a single place in the 
river frozen over, though the ice was so thin that it bent be- 
neath the steps of the soldiers. 3 . . . The wagons, some 
loaded with sick and wounded, last attempted to pass,* but 
the ice broke with them, and the heavy plunge and stifled 
moaning apprised their companions of their fate. " Page 379. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 No. Not before dark, and ordered all to follow. 
P. S. NET'S SHORTHAND NOTE. Blockhead be I see, or say. 

" We return to the Grand Army, or rather to the assem- 
blage of those who had once belonged to it, for of an army it 
had scarce the semblance left. ... If Ney and some of 
the marshals still retained authority, they were only attended 
to from habit, or because ths instinct of discipline revived 
when the actual battle drew near. . . . The stragglers, 
which now comprehended almost the whole army, divided 
into little bands. . . . Those associated into such a 
fraternity would communicate to none save those of their 
own party a mouthful of rye dough, and a handful of meal 
was a sufficient temptation for putting to death the wretch 
who could not defend his booty." ' Page 390. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. J Base traduter. 

" He [Napoleon] had no expectation that the mild climate 
of Fontainebleau would continue to gild the ruins of Moscow 

* See Testimony of Burgess Gaither. See also Segur and Home. The 
drowning of the sick and wounded made a lasting impression upon Ney 
and his entire army. 



till the arrival of December ; but he could not forego the 
flattering belief that a letter and proposal of pacification must 
at last fulfil the anticipations which he so ardently entertained. 
It was only the attack upon Murat that finally dispelled this 
hope." 1 Page 399. 

P. S. KEY'S NOTE. l TTie letter was not forwarded by Koutowoff. 


I have still another book " Memoirs of Napoleon" - 
which contains a few notes of priceless value written by Peter 
S. Ney. The book belongs to Mr. A. B. Andrews, Jr., 
Attorney at Law, Raleigh, N. C., who obtained it from his 
grandfather, Colonel William Johnston, Charlotte, N. C. 
Colonel Johnston writes : " The ' Memoirs of Napoleon,' 
containing marginal notes by Peter S. Ney, was in my 
father's library* when I was a boy, and was read with much 
interest by me. Peter S. Ney taught school in our immediate 
neighborhood, and my youngest brother, Rufus M. Johnston, 
was one of his pupils. P. S. Ney sometimes went home 
with him. He had full access to my father's library, and 
read with avidity everything which in any way related to the 
life of the Emperor Napoleon. His conversation was intel- 
lectual, his manner dignified and impressive, and he would 
Lave attracted attention in any society." 

The title-page of the book is as follows : " Memoirs of the 
Military and Political Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, . . . 
Embracing also an Authentic Narrative of the Conduct of 
Napoleon during his Voyage to St. Helena, and while in 
Exile, and of Events attending his Confinement, . . . with 
Numerous Private Documents, Collected chiefly from the 
Writings of Dr. B. E. O'Meara, Surgeon to Napoleon at St. 
Helena. Hartford : Published for Chauncey Goodrich, 

* On a fly-leaf of the book is the signature of Robert Johnston, father 
of Colonel Johnston. 

security, or destroyed; as they compromised the lives 
of so many persons. But M. Blacas was .only intent 
upon saving his quattrims* and gave himself but little 
concern about the lives of those who had been the 
means of bringing himself and his muster back. He 
was then minister of. the king's household. Every- 
thing was trusted to him by Louis^who is incapable 
himself, and whose chief qualities are dissimulation 
and hypocrisy. His legs are covered with ulcers, which 
are dressed for him by the Duchess of Angouleme. 
He gorges to that degree every day, that they are oblig- 
ed to give him God knows what to enable him to dis- 
encumber himself of his load. Some morning he will 
be found dead in his bed. He has some ignorant z/- 
beii/es of physicians about him. They wanted Cor- 
visart to attend him, but he refused, saying, that if any 
accident happened, he might be accused of having 
contributed to his end. When I returned to the Thuil- 
leries, I found my apartments poisoned with the smell 
of his legs, and of divers sulphureous baths, which he 
was in the habit of using." 



aa expected to be concentrated, and prince Ber- 
nard of Saxe, had taken a position between that place and 
Genappe. The portion of the prince of Orange was an 
important one, being the point at which the different di- . 
visions of Wellington's army were concentrating. Mad it 
not been for the delay of marshal Ney, he might have se- 
cured this portion, and been enabled to attack separately 
thfidjivisions of the Kn-!i^!i army on their inarch. Ti. 

-s were lost. B;it the in<ir-hal havm-.; rrcrived 
viie emperor, with about haif liis force 




" The general sarcastically replied, ' C'etoit une vraie capu- 
cinade ' ' it was a true farce.' " ' Page 208. 
P. S. NET'S SHORTHAND NOTE.' Volney said so. 

' Marshal Ney, when on the point of marching to take the 
position assigned him, halted in consequence of a report that 
the English and Prussian armies had effected a junction in 
the environs of Fleurus." 'Page 314. 
P. S. NET'S NOTE. > Not so* Had no command. 

" Had it not been for the delay of Marshal Ney." ' Page 

P. S. NET'S SHORTHAND NOTE.* Delay ! say (or as) the Emperor took 
away my reserve. 

" The loss of the French [at Ligny] was 6950 1 killed and 
wounded." Page 315. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 16,950. 

" Ney fixed his headquarters at Quatre Bras, his line being 
two cannon-shot distant from the enemy. He was joined by 
Count Erlon 1 with the corps of reserve. The loss of the Eng- 
lish troops was estimated at 9000, that of the French at 
3400."' Page 31 6. 

P. S. NET'S SHORTHAND NOTE. ! Count d' Erlon was catted off (or away) 
by Napoleon, who crippled my movement. 
9 5000. 

" The third division of the second corps having suffered 
much at the action at Ligny, remained to watch the field of 
battle and take care of the wounded." * Page 317. 

P. S. NET'S SHORTHAND NOTE. J This was the fatal error.\ 

* Ney had just joined the army. His troops had not arrived. Napoleon 
alone was responsible for the delay. 

f It may have been. A f ter the battle of Ligny Girard's division numbered 
about three thousand men. If at Waterloo Napoleon could have sent Ney 
a reinforcement of three thousand men when the marshal captured La 
Haye Sainte, or, later, when he penetrated into the very heart of the Eng- 
lish position, the result might have been different. Certainly Napoleon 
would not have suffered so serious a defeat. 


" About an hour after this dispatch the Emperor received 
a report from Marshal Grouchy, by which it was with sur- 
prise and astonishment he learnt that instead of his being at 
Wavre, in close pursuit of Bliicher, he was at Gembloux at 
five the preceding evening, and ignorant of the course Bliicher 
had taken." 'Page 318. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Aye. 

1 i Grouchy concluded he should be able to be before Wavre 
in season." 1 Page 318. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. l (Shorthand.) 

" A primary object of the Emperor at the commencement 
of operations was to attack and destroy each [army] sepa- 
rately. 1 . . . The three hours' delay of Grouchy prevented 
the Emperor from attacking the British on the afternoon of 
the 17th, as he intended to have done." 2 Page 319. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. l No, no. 

" Six thousand men had recently landed at Ostend from 
America." 'Page 319. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Bah! 

" Deeply occupied with thoughts which his situation sug- 
gested, the Emperor, at one o'clock at night, left his quarters 
on foot, accompanied only by his grand marshal, to see if he 
could discover any movements of the enemy. He went the 
round of the Grand Guard. . . . On approaching the 
woods of Chateau Hougoumont, he heard a noise as of a col- 
umn in march. . . . He had determined if the English 
army was retreating to pursue and attack it, notwithstanding 
the darkness of the night. . . ." 'Page 319. 

P. S. NET'S SHORTHAND NOTE. l This is new to me. 
" The English were estimated at ninety thousand men ; 


they had lain under arms during the night, exposed to a 
severe rain, accompanied with thunder and lightning. 1 . . . 
P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Good. 

" The Emperor felt confident of victory. ... * We 
have,' said he, ' ninety chances in our favor, and not ten 
against us.' . . . * "Without doubt,' said Marshal Ney, 
who had just entered, l if the Duke of Wellington were sim- 
ple enough to wait for your Majesty.' ' . . . 

" The army commenced its march in eleven columns, four 
of which were destined for the first line, four for the second, 
and three for the third. The artillery marched on the flanks 
of the columns, and the wagons in the rear. The four col- 
umns designed for the first line arrived on the spot . . . 
at the same time the seven other columns were seen defiling 
from the heights. . . ." a Page 321. 

P. S. NET'S NOTES. 1 By . . . . 
a What stuff! 

" Soult and Ney acted as lieutenant-generals, and the Em- 
peror himself, placed in a central and commanding position, 
directed every manoeuvre. All the reserve were at his com- 
mand, which could be ordered wherever the urgency of cir- 
cumstances might require their presence." 1 Page 323. 
P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 Might. 

" The Emperor ordered Count Lobau with two divisions of 
ten thousand 1 men to march to support the light cavalry." 
Page 325. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 5000. 

" The victory will be more decisive, for Billow's corps will 
be entirely cut up. 

" It was now twelve o'clock. 1 . . . 

" While this attack was going on, a large body of the en- 
emy's cavalry, on his left, charged and repulsed a column of 
infantry, took two eagles and seven pieces of cannon, and 
advanced on to the plain. " ' Page 326. 
P. S. NET'S NOTES. 1 1 P. Jf. Picton. 



" The balls fell on the road before and in rear of the Belle 
Alliance, where the Emperor was stationed with his guards. 
The Prussians had advanced so near as to pour their grape on 
this road." 1 Page 326. 

P. S. KEY'S NOTE. 1 No. 

" Grouchy did not commence his march from Gembloux 
until ten in the morning. At half-past twelve he had ad- 
vanced half-way to Wavre, when he heard the tremendous 
cannonade between the contending armies at Waterloo. Gen- 
eral Excelmans . . . advised him to march toward the 
direction of the fire. The marshal was of the same opinion, 
but hesitated to disobey his orders. Count Gerard then came 
up and gave the same advice. The marshal was convinced. 
. . . At this moment he received information that his ad- 
vanced cavalry had arrived at Wavre, and were engaged with 
the Prussians, whose forces then it was stated amounted to 
eighty thousand men. This determined him to continue his 
march for that place." 'Page 328. 

P. S. NET'S SHORTHAND NOTE. : Damn Grouchy. 

" It was not the defection of the marshals of the army that 
corrupted the soldiers and secured success to the enterprise. 
Even N"ey, who was executed for betraying Louis, did not 
declare for Bonaparte until all his troops . . . mani- 
fested the most mutinous spirit, and showed that they 1 were 
determined to join his standard. It was not Ney, nor Mas- 
sena, nor any of the marshals. . . . " Page 353. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 They [shorthand] hesitated decided long before 
the event. 

" Marshal Soult, Cambaceres, Savary, Fouche, Caraot, and 
many others were astonished at the development of public 
opinion." 'Page 353. 

P. S. NET'S NOTE. 1 (Shorthand.) 





XM April, 181 7. NAPOLEON has been for some 
days in very good spirits. On Saturday, the 19th, some 
captains of East Indiamen came to see Count and Coun- 
tess Bertrand. Captains Innes, Campbell, and Ripsley, 
with Mr. Webb, stationed themselves at the back of the 
house in such a situation as to be likely to see Napoleon 
on his return from Bertrand's, where he had gone about 


pushed on at that time, ? my father-in-law would not 
have been against me." 

Napoleon then said,* that notwithstanding the .occupa- 
tion of Paris by the allies, he should still have succeed- 
ed had it not been for the treachery of Marmont, and 
have driven them out of France. His plan was arrang- 
ed. He was to have entered Paris in the dead of the 
iiigjit. The whole of the. canaille of the city were at 
the same time to attack the allies from the houses, who, 
fighting against troops acquainted with the localities, 
would have been cut to pieces, and obliged to abandon 
the city with immense loss. The canaille were all 
ready. (I think he also said that he would have cut off 
the allies from their park of artillery.) Once driven 
from Paris, the mass of the nation would have risen 




For the Western Carolinian. 

ON the 15th August, 1769, Napoleon Bonaparte first opened his eyes ; 
on 6th May, 1821, he closed them forever. 

" Potentia regia defloruit, 
Fama prceclare mget. ' ' 

His regal potency is gone, 

His fame augments with clearer tone. 

Fortune may smile on others now 

As fondly as she nurtured him ; 
Through life she had his ardent vow, 

But Fortune always had her whim. 

Awhile she was a gracious dame 
And strew 'd with crovrns his upward path, 

Urg'd to the heights of pow'r and fame, 
Then left him with a frown of wrath. 

Forthwith from her prolific womb 

Disgrace and honor, splendor, gloom. 
Defeat, despair, hope, triumph came, 

To prop his pow'r or blast his name. 

They who had storm and battle braved 

In agonizing throes expired ; 
In frost and famine, phrenzy raved 

Of glory ! Men in death admired 
The author of their fate. His mind 
Had not its lust of pow'r resign 'd. 

* At the top of the first page of his scrap-book, from which these selections are made, 
P. S. Ney wrote " Original Poetry, &c." (by P. 8. Ney). The scrap-book belongs to 
Dr. J. G. Ramsay, Cleveland, N. C. P. S. Ney's prose and poetic writings would make a 
large book. A few selections only are given. 


He knew his intellects had rul'd 
The storms enthusiasts had rais'd ; 

And though her ardor had been cool'd, 
Still Freedom on his Eagles gaz'd. 

With hope and partial love, on high 
Again their fearful pinions spread ; 

" Napoleon" was the battle cr^ 
And myriads found a gory bed. 

Dame Fortune now no longer true, 
But tantaliz'd at Waterloo ; 
An instant his proud standards crown'd 
With vict'ry, then more darkly frown'd 
Oh, let the fickle jade be gone ! 

Why be deluded day by day ? 

Let Reason hold his rightful throne, 

Stand at the helm, direct the way 

To realms where Fortune cannot come 

To temples, which she cannot build 

Above the clarichord of fame, 

Or the red glories of the field. 

Terror, reverse press on his rear, 

For him there's no asylum here ; 

But if departed spirits can 

Be charm'd by eulogy from man, 

Or odium have any pow'r 

To wring, beyond the mortal hour, 

An age to come can hardly tell 

Whether he feel a Heav'n or Hell. 

The reverie is darkly deep 
Peace, peace be on thy final sleep ! 

No more by trembling kings oppress'd ; 
The euphony of Ocean's wave 

Compos'd thy mighty mind to rest, 
And Nature form'd thy Island grave. 

When monuments, rear'd to thy foe 
Shall feel the crumbling touch of time, 

Thy undecaying tomb will show 
A grandeur similar to thine. 

To the remotest date thy name 
In living characters shall pass 

In vain engrav'd is deedless fame 
On stone or perishable brass. 

BY PETER S. XfiV. 259 

For the Pee Dee Gazette. 

"How are the mighty fallen !" 

HOSTB burning to commence the fray, 
With gleaming steel in long array, 
And riders fierce and fiery steeds 
Rush furiously to desperate deeds. 

Tremendously the dreadful strife 
Divides the slender ties of life ; 
A pang, a momentary throe- 
Brief harbingers of joy or woe 
Plunge man at arms and chiefs of pride 
Into the sanguinary tide 
That sweeps o'er ruin's steep cascade 
To realms of light or Pluto's shade. 

Battalions retrograde advance 
Fresh columns closethe chargers prance- 
Squadrons aloof in skirmish join, 
Or flank the long, disordered line, 
As when two gladiators stand 
With watchful eye and ready brand, 
A faltering step, averted eye, 
Dooms one antagonist to die. 

Wide carnage indicates the path 
Where cannon issue instant death ; 
But dauntless in the fatal storm 
More proudly swells each martial form ; 
Vengeance and rivalry impart 
A stronger pulse to every heart : 
The Eagle perch'd on standard high 
Seems pleased to view his foemen die ; 
Unruffl'd in the van, his glance 
Prolongs the energies of France ! 
Apt emblem of the warlike great, 
The idol of a sinking state, 
Whose stern commands and genius wield 
The fearful movements of the field. 
Britannia shakes her visage pale 
Implies her hopes of conquest fail 
Awful suspense still valiantly 
Her sons repulse each charge or die. 



The Prussians on the flank appear 
In masses dense, approaching near. 
The imperial guards their standards wave, 
Led by the " bravest of the brave!" 
Oh, brief and brilliant was the charge ! 
Fresh troops the British lines enlarge III 
The Gallic squadrons thunder on, 
Exclaiming, " Vive Napoleon." 

Flank, front and rear, at once assailed, 
To wild uproar the conflict swelled ; 
The blushing sun descends the night 
Augments the horrors of the fight ; 
Distraction and delirium high 
At random strike, at random die 
The combatants, both high and low, 
In mingled carnage, friend and foe. 

The agonies of strife subside, 
And roll in one promiscuous tide 
Of fitful tumult from the field, 
Where thousands fell, where few did yield. 
" How are the mighty fallen !" 

And now, upon the silent plain, 

With art magnificently gay, 
Huge monuments arise in vain 

To mark the struggles of the day. 
In vain do sculptured tombs arise 
To indicate where valor lies : 
The partial epitaph may lie, 
But great achievements never die. 

The sage narrator, Time, shall tell 
Who bravely fought, who nobly fell 
The motives, and the men that led 
To infamy or honor's bed. 
Did love of glory urge them on, 
Or blind obedience to a throne ? 
Or did the cause of law and right 
Impel them to disastrous fight ? 
'Tis not a finely sculptured tomb 
That gives the wreath perennial bloom : 
All motives base make actions mean, 
Howe'er of glory mad men dream. 

Thus when some mighty villains die, 
Proud cenotaphs ascend on high, 


Which pompous blazonries adorn 
With marks of mockery and scorn. 
Not so when intellectual light 
To higher regions wings its flight ; 
It leaves warm sympathy behind 
In every great and noble mind. 
Where is the chieftain of thy pride, 
O Gaul ! who did thy fortunes guide ? 
To him arise no work of art 
His urn is every valiant heart. 

Stupendous in the Ocean's wave, 
His mighty monument and grave, 
An island rears her giant form 
His requiem is the thunder-storm. 

These puny works must yield to Time, 
But his is durable sublime : 
The Appian Way, renowned in song, 
Was but a path for pleasure's throng. 

Lo ! where the Alpine mountains rise 
In snowy masses to the skies 
The broad Simplon on high sustain 
The chariot swift or loaded wain 

Prodigious, durable, and grand 

An epitaph that cannot lie ; 
The fruitful harvest of his brand 

The signet of his heraldry. 



" Napoleon, Maximum hlttoria decu*." 

UPON thy self-erected throne 
Thy genius like a meteor shone ; 
The world beheld thee, and admired ; 
Kings trembled, flattered and retired 
Before thy withering glance ; they found 
Thy mental volume too profound 
For common kings to scan : in fear 
They placed thy mortal relics here, 
Lest from the grave thy mould'ring bones 
Might rise and blast their rescued thrones. 




For the Western Carolinian. 

MR. EDITOR : What mind does not feel melancholy and indignant at the 
result of the contest for freedom in Spain ? My first feelings and ideas, 
on hearing the sickening catastrophe, are submitted to your disposal : 

IBERIA, who can deplore 

That freedom has fled from thy shore, 

And left thee to suffer the fate 

Of thraldom, of priestcraft, of hate ! 

The heroes who rose in thy cause 

For Liberty, Verity, Laws, 

In peril abandon 'd by thee : 

Thou never deserv'st to be free ! 

Go, bow to the tyrant who has thee betray'd ; ' 

Go, worship the puppet that has thee enslav'd ; 

Go, purge thy delusions by auto dafe! 

Iberia, thou never deserv'st to be free ! 

The brave shall abhor thee, the noble shall spurn ; 

Go, bend to the priesthood who treat thee with scorn I 

Reflect on the tombs of thy heroes, and then 

Say who are the dastards and who were the men ? 

And thou, too, France ! 
Beneath thy victor Eagle's eye, 
Where do thy crimson 'd banners fly ? 

Fatuity and self may lead, 
Short space, astray the thoughtless head ; 
But Freedom will not wear a chain, 
Freedom cannot brook disdain, 
Though the hand that binds it round her 
Were with garlands to surround her. 

The selfish passions may betray 

The holy rights of man, 
But when the Mind resumes her sway 

They grasp the sword again. 
Iberia, has the spirit fled 

That should redeem thee now, 
And once so bright a lustre shed 

Around thy ancient brow ? 

O. F. 

ROWAN, Dec. 18, 1823. 


For the Western Carolinian. 

ROAM over the mountain, 

Sail on the wide sea ; 
Go drink at the fountain 

Of Freedom be free ! 
Maintain in your manhood, 

Retain in decline, 
Your birthrights as Man should ; 

Be never supine. 

But sailing the ocean. 

Traversing the shore, 
With purest devotion 

Dame Freedom adore : 
Whether Moslem or Catholic, 

Gentile or Jew, 

Forever be true. 

Submit to no tyrant, 

Succumb to no king ; 
Put down the aspirant, 

Cut off Treason's sting ; 
Repel the aggressor, 

Be true to your friend ; 
Destroy the oppressor, 

The feeble defend. 

Reflect on the Roman 

And masculine Greek ; 
The former is no man, 

The latter is weak ; 
You may be a giant 

A giant may fall ; 
If reckless, compliant, 

A dwarf might enthrall. 

Be cautious in council, 

Be brave in the field ; 
Give power to no numskull 

Or scoundrel to wield ; 
And your days in the land 

May long be, and blest, 
And Freedom will flourish 

When you sink to rest. 


Republics are giants 

When go vena 'd aright 
By rulers of energy, 

Principle, light : 
Devoid of such guides, 

They are pigmies of pride, 
Whom faction divides 

And monarchists deride. 

All pactions are vellum, 

All Freedom uproar, 
When minds intellectual 

Do grovel not soar. 
Sound culture must polish, 

Strong sympathy rule 
The State that would flourish 

In Liberty's school. 


For the Spectator. 

** Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow." Byron. 

'Tie not with Homer's strength I sing, 

To tell the triumphs of the brave 
Who erst did lofty Ilion bring 

To ruin and a gory grave. 
Oh, sad reverse ! On Attic plains 
The Greek has fall'n, the Moslem reigns. 

* * * * * 

Missolonghi has fallen, but Greece must not fall, 
Nor Moslem the Grecian again put in thrall, 
While civilized man has a heart that can feel, 
Or courage has vigor to brandish the steel. 

In thine own arm, O Greece ! confide ; 
Strike down the ruthless homicide . 
Though Missolonghi is no more, 
Behold thy mountains, rocky shore, 

Each island, gulf and sea ; 
Revive ! let not thy courage droop 
Action alone produces fruit ; 

Be valiant and be free. 

Thy gulf, O Salamis ! can tell 

How Grecians fought, how Persians fell ; 


Twelve thousand ships, destroyed in thee, 
Evince the triumphs of the free. 
Think on Theraistocles, O Greece ! 
Charge home, and thou shall conquer peace ! 
Not peaceful bondage ! treat with scorn 
A lot to which no man was born. 

When thou, by factions rent apart, 

Went'st forth with Philip's conquering son, 
Didst thou not show the lion heart 

That empires at Arbela won ? 
Strike, modern Greece 1 oh, why not be 
As great, as valiant, and more free I 

* * # * * 

Expel the tyrant from thy coast ; 

In Europe wh&t have they to do ? 
Succumb, divide, and all is lost : 

Arise, strike home, thou must subdue 1 
O'er Hellespontus let them fly. 
Come on ! they must retreat or die. 



IN consternation and defeat, 

Masses discomfited retreat ; 

The bridge above the falls they gain ; 

No exhortation could restrain 

The headlong, rush-confus'd career, 

By foes assaulted in the rear : 

The overloaded fabric fell : 

One shriek of sorrow, mortal throe, 

An instant mark'd this scene of woe, 
Amid the rapid, rolling swell 
The surface of the raging flood 
Exhibited no hues of blood ; 
The cataract, abrupt and dense, 
Held agony in brief suspense, 
Plunging its victims, at a sweep, 
From light and life to endless sleep. 
No corse emerg'd, nor human sound 
Has yet escap'd the gulf profound. 

* " The falls of Terni are on the river Velino. Near these falls, General Pepe took his posi- 
tion against the Austrian army in 1821. Pepe was defeated : his disordered troops attempted 
to retreat over the bridge, a short distance above the falls. The bridge gave way, and several 
hundred men were swept over the tremendous cataract into a gulf of unknown depth by the 
irresistible velocity of the current. No bodies were ever found ; that gulf of unknown depth. 
is their sepulchre." 


Ah ! had they stood in battle firm, 

With dauntless front and valiant arm, 

Proud victory or honor's grave 

Had saved them from the ruthless wave. 

Short-sighted mortals often run 

Upon the fate they aim to shun. 

The love of glory and a name 

The head obscure, the heart inflame ; 

Allure them out of reason's path, 

To crime, fatuity and death. 

That morning many hearts beat high, 

And boasting tongues were loud ; 
Ere evening shadows veil'd the sky 

They sunk without a shroud 
Not gloriously in battle strife, 
Fighting for liberty and life, 

For kindred and dear native land ; 
But ere the martial conflict rose 
To war's last tug and desp'rate blows, 

Flying before a tyrant's band. 
The hardy will mourn 

Over horrors so drear ; 
The heroic will scorn 

The emotions of fear 
Which urg'd them to fly 

From the face of a foe, 
Whom, by stern bearing higK 

They might have laid low. 


For the Pee Dee Gazette. 

" From thy own selected spot of burial, who shall dare to remove thy bones, O Wash- 
ington ! 11 

# # # # * 

THOU wast no common man ! Some few 
Thy sculptur'd monument might view ; 
But when old Time shall ruin bring 
Over this purposed marble thing, 
When works of art shall disappear, 
Corroded by each passing year, 
Posterity shall think of thee, 
And hail thee champion of the free. 

Should tyranny hereafter reign, 

To splendid tombs will freedom fly ? 
On Vernon's mount she will complain, 

Where her great father FIRST did lie. 


Then rear his mausoleum high 
Upon that site, but let no eye 
Pervade the sanctity and gloom 
Which shroud hia self -selected tomb 
So holy, so impressive made 
By Nature's deep, surrounding shade. 

Tis not respect which moves the throng 

To disinter his dust renown'd ; 
'Tis pride 'tis vanity 'tis wrong 1 

Stir not his grave ! 'tis holy ground/ 


WHO has not heard of Sidney's name, 
In manhood's bloom, and rich in fame ? 
On Zutphen's bloody plain he found, 
In freedom's cause, the mortal wound : 
The soldier's friend, the warrior's pride, 
At thirty-two Sir Philip died. 

For the Western Carolinian. 

" Good poetry is perfectly consistent with no high degree of precision of thought or ac- 
curacy of expression ! ! I" Jamiefon's Rhetoric. 

DEKP-THINKING, melancholy man, 

Why for a fleeting phantom sigh ! 
Thy weary vigils never can 

Unload thy heart, re-light thine eye. 
Go, mingle with the thoughtless gay, 

An antidotal charm to find 
Against the inauspicious day 

Which blasted former peace of mind. 

Philosophy asserts in vain 

That minds of strength can triumph o'er 
The keenest intellectual pain, 

Above the freaks of fortune soar. 

Fallacious I the reverse is true : 

The mind obtuse naught can annoy. 
With anguish clearest heads review 

Their withered hopes and ruin'd joy. 
Rude imbecility will soar 

Where cultur'd energy would sink ; 
The servile bend and aid implore 

The free are brave on ruin's brink. 


Did Cato, in his dread extreme, 

Accept of Caesar's proffered boon ? 
Did Regulus become so mean 

As to avoid bis certain doom ? 
Corporeal ailments bave their balm ; 

But what physician yet has found 
An opiate the mind to calm, 

Or close an intellectual wound ? 

For the Western Carolinian. 


" To be unanimous is to be great ! 
When right's own standard calmly is unfurl'd, 
The PEOPLE are the sovereigns of the world." 

Pilgrims of the Sun. 

THE eagle builds not in the vale, 

Nor sparrows on the mountain pine, 
The linnet dares not stem the gale, 

Or mount the storm on " wing sublime ;" 
So servile hearts have not the pow'r 

To grasp that magnitude of mind 
Which in the dark and deathful hour 

Supports the champions of mankind. 

* * # * * 

This day commemorates the DEED 

Of spirits ardent, lucid, stern, 
Who freedom to this land decreed, 

And maim'd Britannia's potent arm. 

* * * # * 

Then raged the conflict, hearts beat high, 

Warm kindred blood like water ran ; 
"Death! Liberty!" the battle cry, 

Till TRIUMPH crown'd the rights of man. 
Long, long that triumph shall resound, 

Its principles by age sustain'd, 
Congenial sentiments be crown'd, 

Or every noble heart be drain'd. 

Mock not with monumental spires 
The deathless memories of men 

Who toil'd through famine, flood, and fire 
For "Freedom's guiltless Diadem;" 


Their deeds live in the high renown 

To dauntless hearts alone assign'd ; 
The warrior-wreath, the civic crown, 

Our fatfars' temples ever bind. 

Shall not their offspring worthy be 

Of such progenitors as they ? 
Indomitable lofty free ! 

Till earth and empire pass away ? 
Fill high the wine-cup to the brave 

Who rear'd in blood this Commonweal ; 
Forever like your sires behave ! 

The EAGLE builds not in the vale. 

For the Pee Dee Gazette. 


" Betta, horrida bdla." 

ON tented field and forest lone 
The parting beams of Phoebus shone ; 
At New Orleans in luckless hour 
The Briton landed with his power, 
His heart elate his ardent sigh, 
His fervid pulse, his glistening eye, 
Were quenched upon the gory plain 
Before those beams return'd again. 

Beneath the royal lion's eye) 
Warr'd martial knights and barons high, 
Battalions which had borne away 
The palm on many a bloody day ; 
Their leader tried, and culled beside 
From chivalry's heroic pride. 

Warm and precipitantly rash, 
Upon our lines their columns dash ; 
But, soon astounded, roll away 
As from the rocks recoils the spray. 

Collected in the dreadful strife, 
As in the calmest scenes of life, 
Jackson surveyed with skillful eyes 
The aspect of the dread emprise ; 
Sagacious, unappall'd and firm, 
Prompt to repel, quick to discern, 
He deem'd not that the vet'ran host 
Repuls'd < conceive the battle lost. 


Inur'd to war, the valiant band 
Retreat apace, then bravely stand, 
Promptly their broken ranks reform. 
More firmly re-advance to storm, 
And with Columbia's sons engage 
In deadlier ire and fiercer rage. 
Their leaders fall ! their boldest die ! 
Again they retrograde ! they fly ! ! ! 
In purple torrents rolled the flood 
Of Mississippi with their blood. 

With plumage unruffled the Eagle ascended ; 
His pathway the plaudits of conquest attended ! 
The Lion, reluctant, retired from his slain, 
Divested of laurels, and shorn of his mane. 

For the Western Carolinian. 

"Intanlre Juvat."Hor. 

THE tempest raves without, and I 
Will rave in unison within ; 

Prom constant gravity to fly 
Can be no deep or deadly sin. 

Pour out the cheering wine, my boy, 

We mean to pass a night of joy. 

Incessant study sours the mind, 
As ceaseless sunshine taints the air ; 

Nature is provident and kind- 
She only frowns to be more fair. 

Then let us have a storm of mirth, 

To give serene ideas birth. 

Another peal, another glass. 

That flash how awful and sublime ! 
How fleet the coruscations pass 

Bright emblems of the light Divine ! 
This nectar gleams before my sight, 
A Pharos in this dreadful night. 

Tit not in levity or fear 

We treat this dread tremendous hour, 
But in deep confidence and cheer, 

Submissive to the ruling power. 
Let trembling guilt its head conceal 
True hearts no trepidation feel. 


The storm subside* the midnight chime 
Has struck the ground is drenched with rain ; 

Tis time to sleep ; put by the wine. 
We'll drink when tempests rare again ; 

For they must be devoid of flaws, 

Who thus conform to nature's laws. 



1. DUELING can derive no sanction either from laws human or divine. 
The laws of nature condemn it ; reason condemns it ; prudence condemns it. 

2. Passions are its parents, public opinion its nurse. 

3. Duelists equally detest themselves and those whose fastidious punctilios 
urge them to the alternative of death or disgrace,* 


TKRRIFIC is the stormy night : 
How grand, how brilliant is the light ! 
Flashing in sheets of living flame 
The index to Jehovah's name. 
The mightiest man is nothing now 
Awe crouches on the loftiest brow ; 
From nerveless hands the sceptres fall 
Which keep innumerary hosts in thrall. 
The rich, the poor, the meek, the proud. 
In one promiscuous group is bowed 
At thy tremendous presence, Lord ! 
In storms alone TLou art adored. 



To youth and health in vain we trust 
To guard us from our parent dust ; 
Deform *d and fair, and old and young. 
Are doom'd to mingle there erelong. 

Our guardian genius may defend 

From dire mishaps our brief career, 
But death will level foe and friend, 

And leave the wreck of nature here. 

Then, mortals, be prepaid to go 

Where all the Godly hope to rest ; 
You cannot long remain below : 

Perhaps this change is for the best. 



AND thus heroes would perish much rather than fly, 
And their greatest desire is in triumph to die. 

Thus Nelson, the Briton, when navies were sinking, 

Received his death-wound without sighing or shrinking ; 

When the flag of his foeman was laid at his feet, 

He smiled, and considered his glory complete 

His spirit enraptured to know that his name 

Should blazon forever the tablet of fame. 

Thus "Wolfe, valiant Wolfe, the young, ardent and brave, 

Would not have commuted his own gory grave 

For the crown and the sceptre his monarch then swayed : 

His name is eternal, his king's has decayed. 

" Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in 
the beauty of holiness." Ps. xxix. 2. 

WHEN virgin voices sweetly blend 
With manly tones, and both ascend 
Harmonious on the dulcet air, 
How soooth'd is then the listening ear ! 
Sweet symphonies the heart disarm 
And all our sterner passions charm. 

When brooding over former climes, 
And perils passed in distant climes, 
Defeat and glory all are gone, 
Like dreams, before Louisa's* tone ; 
Harsh thunders of the battle-field 
To soft, melodious accents yield. 

But when the holy anthem swells 

That speaks where Christ in glory dwells, 

When hope and faith united say : 

" Leave worldly schemes and come this way," 

Thrones, dynasties, and martial pow'r 

Appear the playthings of an hour 

Seducing, evanescent, vain, 

The pompous phantoms of a worldly brain. 

18 May,f 1831. 

* Madame Ney's Christian name was Louise Aglse. The Marshal probably called her 
Louise Louisa in English. She had a remarkably sweet voice. Memoirs of Madame tie 

tOn the 18th day of May, 1804, Cambaceres, as President of the Senate, ''proclaimed 
Napoleon Bonaparte Emperor of the French." 



BEST of the garden, why should we 
Withhold a stanza due to thee ? 
Roses may entertain the eye 

And gratify the smell : 
With cabbage and good bacon I 

Can hunger's tooth repel. 
Pride of the kitchen, why should we 
Withhold the praises due to thce ? 

Let emblematic flowers imply 

Emotions tongues cannot explain ; 
Good cabbages well cook'd defy 

Keen appetites, and life sustain. 
Boast of the dinner-table, we 
Award these praises due to tliee, 
We could give thee a sweeter name, 
But still thy virtues are the same. 



WHERE is that lofty spirit now 

That swell'd to rule thy fellow-man 
The coronet that graced thy brow. 

When once triumphant in the van, 
Vast armies followed thy behest. 
And crowned with victory thy crest ? 

Gone, where all human things must go, 

Beneath Time's rotatory wheel ! 
Perhaps 'tis best that it is so, 

To give thee space thy heart to heal 
Of those deep wounds Ambition made 
In thy poor heart, which turn'd thy head. 


Freedom, to thee I most atone, 
For quenching once thy innate flame ; 

My bosom is thy native home, 
Thy triumph is my highest fame. 

Forgive me if I once did stray 

Unconscious from thy splendid way. 

* Dedicated (in cipher) to Napoleon Bonaparte, 
t lu cipher. 




JESTING aside, my doubting heart 

Endures for him the keenest smart. 

Love, if thou wilt intrude upon us, 

I wish thou wouldst not Hope take from us. 

Zenobia, it is said, disdain'd 

A captive to be led enchain'd 

Before Aurelian's gorgeous car, 

Environ'd by the pomp of war. 

True for the female heart disdains 

Hymen, if he come with chains. 

Tell him, Eros, I'll be free, 

Even though he marry me. 

Love I will, but not obey, 
Unless he let me have my way. 
He has paid on bended knee 
Homage duly sworn to me ! 
"Why then should a subject rule me ? 
No, by Jove, he shall not fool me. 
Wife or maiden, I must still 
Be supreme and have my will. 


THE coldest heart that ever beat 

Has some emotions warm 
Some little, secret, sweet retreat 

That has a latent charm. 

A cold exterior may display 

To superficial eyes 
A breast in which Love's vivid ray 

Just enters in and dies. 

Yet in that bosom's deep recess. 

Volcanic flames may burn, 
Which disappointed hopes repress, 

And feelings fine inurn. 


CUPID is a changeling 

Requiring much art, 
To keep him from mangling 

The chords of the heart. 

* From an album which belonged to Miss Margaret E. Graham, Salem Academy, N. C., 1845. 

BY PETER S. NET. ;>75 

" A Friend" wrote in Miss Allison's album that the man whose 
heart music could not melt was 

" the Muses' scorn- 
Fit only to delve 

In Mammon's dirty mine- 
Sneak with a scoundrel fox, 

Or grunt with glutton swine." 


Is there a female heart who can 
Duly estimate the man- 
Not by music's dulcet tone, 
But by moral worth alone ? 

* * * * 

Testing virtue by the ear 
Is a standard wond'rous queer ! 
By that rule, this Friend of thine 
Dooms to grovel with the swine 
Many minds acute and clear 
That can think, but can not hear. 
My spirits with emotion swell 
At Music's voice attemper'd well ; 
Yet many men, profound, sublime, 
Are strangers to the tuneful nine. 
Therefore, sweet friend, forbear to blame 
Great numbers who have soar'd to fame. 

Whom does the cap fit ? NESCIO. 
21 Jan'y, 1839. 


* # * * * 

THY sparkling eyes and temples fair 
May feel through life some of my care, 
But if I dare a prophet turn, 
They ne'er with agony shall burn 
Or feel that soul-consuming flame 
That scorch 'd me on the steeps of fame. 
May, 1838. 


Bishop Berkeley. 

WESTWARD the star of empire takes its way, 

Eastward the shadows darken fast- 
An infant realm is rising on the day 

Far mightier than mighty past. 
* From P. S. Ney's School Register. 



(By request] 

AMONG the manly, Hoke was foremost found, 
Of mind capacious and of morals sound ; 
In public spirit and in private worth, 
His State ne'er gave a nobler being birth, 
All mourned the exit of his early prime, 
But all must yield to the decrees divine. 
April, 1845. 


VAST Genius laid his hand 

Upon this shining page, 
And here his MARK shall stand 

Distinct from age to age. 
Away prim manikins will pass, 
But Ney remains an age of brass. 


THOUGH I of the chosen the choicest, 

To Fame gave her loftiest tone ; 
Though I 'mong the brave was the bravest, 

My plume and my baton are gone ! 

The Eagle that pointed to conquest 

Was struck from his altitude high, 
A prey to a vulture the foulest, 

No more to revisit the sky. 

One sigh to the hope that has perished, 

One tear to the wreck of the past, 
One look upon all I have cherished, 

One lingering look 'tis the last. 

And now from remembrance I banish 
The glories which shone in my train ; 

Oh, vanish, fond memories, vanish ! 

Return not to sting me again 
May 26, 1835. 

* A man of great ability, and of high character, the grandfather of Secretary Hoke Smith. 

t From Mrs. StirewalVs album. The last line was afterwards changed to : 
" But Ney remains a man of brass." 

$ From Mrs. Dalton's album. See p. 156, note at bottom. P. S. Ney wrote the same 
piece of poetry in Miss Allison's album ; it is entitled " Farewell," and was written in 
March, 1888. He copies " Napoleon's Farewell," by Byron, and then writes his own Fare- 

BY PETER 8. NET. 277 

From the Charlotte Chronicle* 

" The following was published forty-seven years ago in the Charlotte Journal, aud waH 
composed by a man who called himself Marshal Ney : " 


14 AH me ! said Hannibal, when recalled from Italy." 

AN atom on the atmosphere, 
Tossed here and there and everywhere ; 
No female hand to press my head 
Or close mine eyes when I am dead ; 
No feeling friend to whisper peace 
And bid my erring passions cease 
Their wild uproar no kindred none. 
An exile from my native home, 
A wanderer, like Cain, am I, 
And only agonize to die. 

Yes, agony must be my lot 
While sensibility is mine ! 

Yet shall I never be forgot, 
Or silent sink to latest time. 
High on the pyramid of fame, 
The bravest of the brave, my name 
Shall shine. Oh, sweet, consoling thought ! 
When I am gone I shall not be forgot. 

* Date torn off ; probably published in 1890. 


have of what was my opinion at that time about Wright 
is faint J but as well as I can recollect^ it was, that 
lie ought to have been brought before a military com-- 
mission for having landed spies and assassins, and tlbe 
Sentence executed within forty-eight hours. What dis- 

except to him, was imperatively necessary, and indeed -J 
the chief requisite." 

His excellency then told me, in order, as he said, to 
show the good opinion that he entertained of me, that 

VOL. f . 



THE evidence presented in the preceding pages proves con- 
clusively, I think, that Peter S. Ney was Marshal Ney.* Of 
course the evidence must be considered as a whole and not in 
detached portions, f The physical resemblance between P. S. 
Ney and Marshal Ney is perfect. Marshal Key was large, 
tall a little more than five feet, eleven inches high (" clique 
pieds, cinque ponces") athletic, broad-shouldered, full-chest- 
ed, symmetrically built. " Each attitude and motion denoted 
health and strength of muscle." His head was very large, 
partially bald, high behind, flattish on top, oval, long from 
front to back ; hair auburn or red ; complexion florid ; fore- 
head high, broad, full ; eyebrows heavy, jutting, prominent 
(" his face," says one writer, " was slightly disfigured by his 
beetling brows") ; eyes blue or gray, sunken, not ungentle in 
repose, but keen, piercing, flaming, terrible when excited ; 
nose high, broad at the base, and slightly turned up (retrousse) 
at the end ; mouth medium, straight, firm ; lips compressed, 
the under lip a little thicker than the upper ; jaws massive ; 

* See " Memoirs of Marshal Ney ;" Goodrich's " History of Napoleon 
and his Marshals ;" " Court and Camp of Bonaparte ;" "The Conscript," 
Erckmann-Chatrian ; " Memoirs of Miles Byrne, Chef de Battalion," etc. ; 
" Reflexions surles Notes du Moniteuret Notes Biographiques, par un Ami 
de la Verite, London, 1810 ;" Thiers' " History of the Consulate and Em- 
pire ;" Headley's " Napoleon and his Marshals ;" Lever's " Tom Burke 
of Ours ;" " Le Marechal Ney, le Soldat," etc. ; Fezensac's " Memoirs ;" 
Maiseau's " Life of Marshal Ney ;" Segur's " Russian Campaign ;" Cape- 
figue's " Europe During the Consulate and the Empire ;" Lamartine's 
" History of the Restoration ;" Welschinger's " Le Marechal Ney, 1815 ;" 
Sir Robert Wilson's " Secret History of the Russian Campaign of 1812 ;" 
Napier's " History of the Peninsular War ;" statues and portraits of Ney ; 
encyclopaedias, etc. 

f Very much of the evidence cannot be specifically alluded to in a sum- 
mary like this. 


chin large, round, prominent ; neck large and rather short ; 
step quick and active ; face marked with small-pox ; voice 
deep, guttural, rich, strong ; expression open, stern, thought- 
ful, commanding. This is an accurate description of Marshal 
Ney. It is an accurate description of Peter S. Ney. 

Again, Peter S. Ney was like Marshal Ney as to his mind, 
character, disposition, manners, habits, tastes, temperament, 
etc. Marshal Ney had a sound, strong, clear, acute, vigorous, 
practical mind. He was brave, bold, daring, intrepid, calm, 
and cool in the hour of peril or need, active, energetic, prompt, 
painstaking, methodical, self-denying (though heady at times), 
modest, kind, gentle, affectionate, tender, honest, just, gener- 
ous, ,frank, open, blunt, rough (though not coarse*), impul- 
sive, quick-tempered, sometimes offending his best friends by 
the plainness and severity of his language, yet always careful 
to make the amplest reparation for any wrong done when the 
excitement of the moment had passed away a good, though 
not implacable hater, a true friend, grave, dignified (yet witty 
and humorous at times), plain (despising the fashions and frip- 
peries of life), proud (though not haughty), independent, yet 
grateful for the smallest attention or kindness ; patriotic, an 
ardent lover, nay, a devout worshipper of Freedom, ready to die 
at any moment in defence of her holy cause a man of great 
personal magnetism and immense moral power, who exercised a 
controlling influence over almost all persons who were brought 
into association, with him. Such was Marshal Ney. Such was 
Peter S. Ney. 

Peter S. Ney used tobacco, and drank wine and spirits 
sometimes to excess. Marshal N ey used tobacco and drank wine 
and spirits, though not to excess, so far as I know. His busy 
and eventful life left him little time or opportunity for dissipa- 
tion of any kind, even if he had been so inclined. Alexander 
Dumas says that at the battle of Waterloo, about three o'clock 
P.M., Napoleon, Ney, Soult, and Jerome Ney and Jerome 
covered with dust and blood discussed a bottle of Bordeaux 
wine. " Napoleon, with that soft voice of his, which he knew 

* I draw Byron's distinction. Byron says that Burns was rough, but 
not coarse. 


so well how to use upon occasion, said to Ney, < Key, my 
brave Key' thoumg him for the first time since his return 
from Elba * thou wilt take the twelve thousand men of Mil- 
haud and Kellermann ; thou wilt wait until my old grumblers 
have found thee ; thou wilt give the coup de loutoir ; and 
then, if Grouchy arrives, the day is ours. Go.' Ney went 
and gave the coup de loutoir, but Grouchy never came. " * 

At the battle of Bautzen, in May, 1813, Ney was slightly 
wounded in the right foot. He spent the night after the vic- 
tory in a chateau near the battlefield ; f and " disdaining to 
use a bedstead, he pulled a mattress to the floor and threw 
himself upon it. One of his aides-de-camp and the officer of 
the guard at the chateau ransacked the building in search of 
food, but only succeeded in finding a considerable quantity of 
rare old Tokay, which they at once confiscated. When the 
marshal awoke he was informed of the ' find,' and as the night 
was inclement, he, with his characteristic warm-heartedness, 
ordered all the guard except the pickets to take up their quar- 
ters in the chateau, as they would be more comfortable there 
than around their bivouac fires. He also invited all the offi- 
cers in the neighborhood to come and share his hospitality. 
They all ' worshipped the rosy god' that night, but of course 
there was no dissipation. They left early the next morning, 
the Emperor and Marshal Ney leading the way." J In his 
" French Ee volutions, " Eedhead says Ney " took a copious 
draught of wine just before he started to the place of execu- 
tion, having previously smoked a Havana cigar, as was his 

Peter S. Ney's surroundings were entirely different from 
those of Marshal Ney prior to his supposed execution in 1815. 
It is known that Peter S. Ney was not at all intemperate until 
the death of Napoleon, in 1821, when he said to Colonel 

* " Excursions sur les Bords du Rhin," par Alexandra Dumas. 

f The marshal's foot was " bound up in a napkin. He had been wound- 
ed in the battle, but said nothing about it. Doubtless he considered any 
wound that did not break a bone a mere nothing." " Memoirs" of Miles 

\ " Memoirs" of Miles Byrne, Chef de Battalion, etc. 


Rogers, " With the death of Napoleon my last hope is gone." 
Marshal Ney worshipped Napoleon. Peter S. Ney wor- 
shipped Napoleon. Marshal Ney possessed so strong and 
hardy a constitution that he seemed to be able almost to defy 
the ordinary laws of nature. He ate sparingly of the plainest 
and simplest food, and required very little sleep or rest of any 
kind. No amount of toil, or care, or privation, or suffering, 
or exposure to heat or cold, or wind, or sleet, or storm could 
break him down. So Peter S. Ney ate sparingly of the plain- 
est and simplest food, and slept but four or five hours out of 
the twenty -four. He was little affected either by heat or cold. 
In the coldest weather he would not sit near the fire. He was 
an indefatigable, proud, ambitious worker. " A soul of fire 
seemed to be contained in a frame of iron." Marshal Ney's 
filial love was very great. His mother was especially dear to 
him. He loved his wife with that old-fashioned, knightly 
devotion of which the brave alone are capable. He was ten- 
derly attached to his children. He was a model son and hus- 
band and father. So Peter S. Ney often spoke of his mother 
and wife and children, and always in terms of the utmost 
affection and tenderness. He was true to his wife during his 
long residence in this country, and almost with his dying 
breath he said, " Oh, I can't stand it any longer. If I get 
well I must go back to France to see my wife and chil- 

Marshal Ney was a fair musician, and had some artistic tal- 
ent. Lavalette says, " The marshal played tolerably well on 
the flute, and repeatedly played a waltz," etc. So Peter S. 
Ney often played on a flute and played " tolerably well. " 
Marshal Ney had little time to cultivate his artistic talent. 
Peter S. Ney's drawings and paintings possessed considerable 
merit. Marshal Ney was noted for the ease and grace with 
which he rode the most vicious and fiery horses. So was 
Peter S. Ney. Marshal Ney was the finest fencer in Europe, 
with the exception, perhaps, of Marshal Murat, and he was 
fully equal to him. So Peter S. Ney was a perfect master of 
the art of fencing. He was far superior to any man, soldier 
or civilian, in the United States. Marshal Ney was thor- 


oughly acquainted with everything pertaining to the art of 
war. So was Peter S. Ney. I do not know whether Marshal 
Ney had any poetic talent or not. But there is more or less 
poetry in every one's nature ; and a man of Ney's brains and 
energy was capable, especially under favorable conditions, of 
accomplishing almost anything. Some of the plainest, stern- 
est, most illustrious warriors, in whom the poetic faculty is 
supposed not to reside, have been very fond of poetry, and 
capable of writing it too. Moses, David, Caesar, Frederick 
the Great, Napoleon* all courted the muse, and some of them 
with decided success. Many men who have won fame in some 
particular calling are exceedingly anxious to do that for which 
they are generally supposed to have little ability or no ability 
at all. Good, old, brusque, homely, clumsy Dr. Johnson was 
one day persuaded to go out rabbit-hunting. He was given a 
fleet, spirited charger, which the doctor was wholly unable to 
control. He outstripped perforce all his competitors, and was 
loudly and enthusiastically proclaimed the hero of the day. 
Dr. Johnson afterward said that he was prouder of that com- 
pliment than of any he had ever received. Wellington one 
day, in a thick forest, killed with his own hands, unaided, an 
enormous wild boar, " of which feat," says one of his friends, 
" he was prouder than of Waterloo." Peter S. Ney wrote 
poetry, and was proud of the accomplishment. He wrote some 
very good poetry. 

Marshal ISTey was wounded several times in the foot, knee, 
thigh, hand, arm, chest, neck. Peter S. Ney was wounded 
in the foot, knee, thigh, hand, arm and chest no one recol- 
lects that he had a wound in the neck. But one of the wit- 
nesses who was with him when he died says, " He had wounds 
all over him, but I cannot recollect the location and character 
of every wound." The sabre cut on the left side of his head, 
to which so many witnesses refer, cannot historically be ac- 
counted for. Marshal Ney, so far as 1 know, had no wound 
of this kind. Peter S. Ney told a few witnesses that he re- 

* At St. Helena Napoleon wrote a poem suggested by the portrait of 
his son. 


ceived the sabre wound at the battle of Waterloo. In a poem 
referring to the battle of Waterloo he says : 

" Where broken bones and fractured skull 
Had all but ruined this poor hull." 

(See Mr. Ervin's testimony.) Mr. W. M. Keinhardt says : 
" Mr. !N"ey told me one day, while I was cutting his hair, how 
he received the sabre wound. He said that during the battle 
of Waterloo he happened to come in contact with an English 
officer named Ponsonby I think he said General Ponsonby 
and that in the melee Ponsonby gave him this wound, but 
that he cut Ponsonby down, and broke his sword in doing so. 
This is my recollection of the matter, and I do not see how I 
can be mistaken." Now, General William Ponsonby was 
killed in a cavalry charge at Waterloo, and Colonel Frederick 
Ponsonby was badly wounded. He was disabled in both arms 
by sabre blows, and fell from his horse apparently dead. He 
lay upon the ground unconscious for several hours. Marshal 
Ney in all probability encountered, face to face, in actual per- 
sonal combat, one of these men or both. According to Dumas, 
Key was ( ' covered with dust and blood. ' ' Victor Hugo says, 
" Ney, one of his epaulettes half cut through by the sabre cut 
of a horse guard, and his decoration of the great eagle dinted 
by a bullet bleeding, muddy, magnificent, and holding a 
broken sword in his hand, shouted, ' Come and see how a mar- 
shal of France dies on the battlefield. . . . Oh, is there noth- 
ing for me /' "* Ney himself says, " Constantly in the rear 
guard, which I followed on foot, having all my horses killed, 
worn out with fatigue, covered with contusions, and having 
no longer strength to march, I owe my life to a corporal who 
supported me on the road, and did not abandon me during 
the retreat." f 

Of course there was no official record of wounds received 
even by the higher officers, as Napoleon and his empire were 
completely overthrown. Peter S. ISTey understood the English 
language, and spoke it well, with very little foreign accent. 

* " Les Miserables." \ Letter to Fouche, June 26th, 1815. 


Marshal Ney understood the English language, and spoke it 
easily and fluently. When Marshal Grouchy was in this country 
in 181 9 he was asked this question : ' ' Could Marshal Ney speak 
the English language?" " Certainly he could," replied 
Grouchy. And he mentioned that on one occasion, in the 
early years of the French Revolution, when he and Ney 
served together in the same army, some English prisoners 
were taken, and that Ney talked with them in their own lan- 
guage. General Lallemand, of the French army, also said 
that Ney understood the English language. Mr. William 
Leigh (naval officer), of Martinsburg, W. Ya., in a letter writ- 
ten in 1887, says : " The Hon. Thomas Spalding, of Georgia, 
was in Washington, D. C. , shortly after Napoleon's downfall. 
There were in the city at that time two French general offi- 
cers on whom Mr. Spalding called, with the intention of mak- 
ing some inquiries about Marshal Ney. These officers did 
not like Marshal Ney. One of them used some expressions 
about Ney which induced Mr. Spalding to say, ' But Ney 
could not speak a word of English. ' ' Not speak English ! ' 
the other replied, ' why, he spoke it like a native/ These 
facts were related to me several years ago by Mr. Spalding 
himself. Mr. Spalding also called my attention to the pecul- 
iar bearing of Count Ney 5 who had not long before made a 
visit of some duration to this country." * Peter S. Ney was 
a highly educated man. He was a superior mathematician, a 
fine classical scholar, well informed on all subjects of general 
interest, and thoroughly acquainted with the French, Ger- 
man, and perhaps other languages. Peter S. Ney said that 
when he came to the United States he had a good though not 
a classical education ; that, during his first three years and a 
half stay in this country, while he remained in seclusion, he 
prepared himself for teaching by studying the classics and the 
higher mathematics. In that length of time a man of Ney's 
parts could have completed the usual college course. And he 
was at all times a diligent student. The idea generally ob- 
tains, even among educated people, that Marshal Ney was an 

* Vide Southern Literary Messenger, 1847 ; Soutliern Quarterly Review, 
1853 ; " History of Cecil County, Aid.," by George Johnston, LL.D. 


ignorant man who could scarcely read or write his name. But 
nothing could be farther from the truth. He was much bet- 
ter educated than most of Napoleon's marshals. He wrote a 
book on the Art of War, which is universally acknowledged 
to be a work of transcendent merit. In 1802 Napoleon ap- 
pointed Ney Minister Plenipotentiary to the republic of 
Switzerland. Of course he would not have appointed an illit- 
erate man to so important and responsible a position as that. 
And, as shown elsewhere (see biography), Ney proved himself 
to be as great a diplomatist as he was a warrior. I have sev- 
eral letters and reports of Marshal Ney written entirely by 
himself, and I do not hesitate to say that as to correctness, 
force, and even elegance of composition, they will compare 
favorably with similar papers written by Wellington or Napo- 
leon. Indeed, Ney's style is much less stilted and poetical 
than that of Napoleon. It is conspicuously clear, concise, and 
forcible, especially when he wrote upon military subjects. So 
was Peter S. Ney's style. 

But, it is asked, if Peter S. Ney were Marshal Ney, why 
did he adopt the name of Peter Stuart Ney ? The French 
soldiers called Marshal Ney ' ' Peter the Red. ' ' It was their 
pet name for him. u Courage, the Red Lion is coming ; all 
will soon be right, for Peter the Red is coming" (" Memoirs"). 
This name, therefore, must have had for Ney the most de- 
lightful, the most tender, even the most sacred associations. 
As to his middle name, P. S. Ney said (according to some 
witnesses) that the maiden name of his mother was Stuart, 
and that he chose Stuart on that account. According to other 
witnesses he chose this name because his mother was related 
to or in some way closely connected with a family of Stuarts. 
But Ney why did he adopt that name a name of world- 
wide fame, and therefore almost certain to create suspicion and 
to lead to discovery a name which no one would expect him 
to take ? He took it in all probability simply because it was 
famous throughout the world ; because no human being would 
expect him to take it. It was his greatest protection, his best 
foil against suspicion or recognition. It was in keeping with 
Ney's bold, daring, shrewd, practical character. Besides, 


there was magic in the name. NEY ! It awoke a thousand 
precious, hallowed memories. It thrilled one through and 
through like an electric shock. It was the synonym of brav- 
ery, and heroism, and immortality. Ney could not give up 
that name. It was his life, his glory, his till. 

It is claimed by some persons that if P. S. Ney were the 
marshal he could have returned to France when a general 
amnesty was granted by the Bourbon government. It is true 
that most of the exiled officers Grouchy, Lallemand, Van- 
damme, Kellermann, etc. returned to France when this gen- 
eral amnesty was granted ; but if Marshal Ney were alive the 
amnesty could not possibly apply to him, because Marshal 
Ney, legally and formally, was a dead man not an exiled 
officer and therefore no amnesty was intended to apply to 
him. Indeed, the amnesty was granted simply because Mar- 
shal Ney was, in the eye of the law, a dead man. He was the 
one victim that had to be offered to appease the Bourbon 
wrath and hate. If he had returned at any time prior to 1848 
he would have been given over to public vengeance, and every 
Frenchman who aided in his escape would have been shot or 
hanged. Besides, P. S. Ney said that he could not return to 
France unless Wellington gave him permission to do so. 
Certainly he was most anxious to go back to his home and 
country. The evidence undoubtedly proves this. For some 
years after the Kevolutionof 1830, Dupin, of counsel for Ney, 
General Excelmans, Armand Carrel, Odilon Barrot, and others 
labored most faithfully to procure from the Chamber of Peers 
a reversal of the sentence of death against Marshal Ney, but 
they were unsuccessful. The Peers were frightened and re- 
fused to reverse the sentence. They were afraid of another 
revolution. Had the sentence been reversed P. S. Ney of 
course could have returned to France. Marshal Ney's pres- 
ence in France at any time after 1831 would in all probability 
have been the signal for an uprising of the people against the 
government of Louis Philippe. In May, 1835, soon after 
Dupin and his friends appeared to have lost all hope of ob- 
taining a reversal of the sentence against Ney, Peter S. Ney 
wrote in Mrs. Dalton's album that remarkable poem entitled, 


" Gone, with their glories, gone !" a poem which, as 1 shall 
show, alone proves that Peter S. Ney was Marshal Ney. 

I have found but one serious difficulty in the entire investi- 
gation. History states that the Christian name of Marshal 
Ney's mother was Marguerite or Margaretha. P. S. Ney said 
the Christian name of his mother was Catharine Isabella (see 
testimony of Mrs. Hughes, General Hill, Mrs. Hill, Mrs. 
Irwin). In 1891 I visited Saar-Louis, Lorraine, the historic 
birthplace of Marshal Ney. I examined the official " Begis- 
ter of Marriages, Births, and Deaths." I quote from it as 
follows : 

" Michel Ney, son of Peter Ney and Margaretha Graffin, 
was born at Saar-Louis on the 10th day of January, 1769. 
The parents were married on the 13th day of January, 1767 ; 
the same are registered in the marriage contract as Peter ]Neu, 
twenty-nine years of age, son of Matthias N"eu and Margaretha 
Becker, of Ensdorf District. Saar-Louig, and Margaretha 
Groewelinger, twenty-eight years of age, daughter of Valen- 
tin Groewelinger and Margaretha Denis, of Bidingen, diocese 
of Trier." 

In the marriage contract Ney's mother signed her name 
Margaretha Greblinger. On Bier Street stands a small, plain 
house, in which, it is said, Marshal N"ey was born. Over the 
front door is a small marble or slate panel with this inscrip- 
tion : " Here was born Marshal Ney." In this village I 
found two distinct families of the name of Ney, but in no way 
related to each other. Each family, however, claimed to be- 
long to that from which Marshal Ney descended. Mrs. 
Schafer, wife of Professor Schafer, of Saar-Louis, belongs to 
what I may call the unhistoric family. She said she was re- 
lated to Marshal Ney, and that the name of his father was not 
Peter, but Nicholas, and the name of his grandfather was 
Anton, and not Matthias. I then asked her what was the 
Christian name of Marshal N"ey's mother. She answered 
without a moment's hesitation, " Catharine." Her family, 
she said, originally came from Wachendorf, Wiirtemberg. I 
went to Wachendorf. 1 there made the acquaintance of the 
Baron and Baroness of Ow. They received me with charm- 


ing courtesy, and gave me some valuable information respect- 
ing the unhistoric Key family. The baron said that his fatlu-r, 
Baron John Charles, had fully investigated the claims of the 
two families, and was thoroughly convinced that Marshal Key 
was descended from the Wachendorf Anton Key family. 
The opinion of Baron John Charles is entitled to great weight, 
for I learned from high authority that he was a man of excel- 
lent judgment and a most careful, painstaking, and conscien- 
tious investigator. Above the front door of the old house in 
which Anton Key lived is a tablet with this inscription : 
" Original Mansion of Marshal Key's Family" (or " Ances- 

Mrs. Elizabeth Schliter, of Wachendorf (nee Key), belongs 
to the Anton Key family. She said : " Our family is very 
old. My ancestors settled here many years ago, though sev- 
eral of them have since emigrated to other places in Europe. 
The family name has always been spelled Ney with the two 
dots above it. There are several families of the name of Keu, 
both in Germany and France, but this name is entirely differ- 
ent from that of Key. I have often heard my father speak 
of Marshal Key as one of his relatives. Marshal Key's father 
was named Nicholas, and he emigrated to France about the 
year 1760." 

Pastor Knittel, of Wachendorf, says : " It has always been 
believed here that Marshal Key's family originally lived in 
Wachendorf ; that his grandfather was named Anton and his 
father Nicholas." 

In the " Official Paper for Wiirtemberg," published at 
Stuttgart, bearing date of April 1st, 1866, I find the follow- 
ing : " It is an undoubted fact that the famous French Mar- 
shal Key, the ' bravest of the brave,' descends from Swabia, 
and that his family continues to live at Wachendorf, where it 
was settled some centuries since. The grandfather of the 
marshal was Anton Key, and he reared a large family of chil- 
dren at Wachendorf. His son Kicholas emigrated to France 
and settled in Saar-Louis,* where he followed the calling of a 

* There was a Saar-Louis in Alsace. 


cooper. He married a French girl, and iroin that marriage 
sprang Marshal Michael Ney." 

The following extract is taken from the " Official Paper of 
Ravensburg for 1825," to wit : " The grandfather of Marshal 
Ney is Anton Ney, born May 24th, 1699, who married, at 
first, Anna Faiss, November 25th, 1725. There were five 
sons. The first, John, born October 2d, 1728, removed to 
Alsace. The second, Joseph, took possession of the house- 
hold and paid to each brother forty florins. The third, Fidelis, 
removed to Hungary. The fourth, named Nicholas, removed 
to Alsace. Nicholas was born October 27th, 1738, and is 
recognized all over this country as the father of the French 
Marshal Ney." 

A genealogical table of the Ney (Wachendorf) family was 
prepared by Pastor Bok. The facts were chiefly taken from 
the official records of the town of Wachendorf. From this 
table (kindly furnished me by the Roman Catholic priest of 
Wachendorf) I extract the genealogical record of the Ney fam- 
ily found on the following page. 

Let us go back to the historic Matthias Ney family. In 
the " Official Register of Marriages, Births, and Deaths" at 
Saar-Louis we find that Marshal Ney's father was Peter Neu, 
not Ney ; that his grandfather was Matthias Neu,* not Ney ; 
and that his mother had three different names. Now, here is 
a regular olla podrida : Michel Ney, Peter Neu, Peter Ney, 
Matthias Neu, Margaretha Graffin, Margaretha Groewelinger, 
Margaretha Greblinger ! 1 asked the polite registrar to ex- 
plain the matter. He shook his head. u It's very strange," 
said he, " but 1 can't explain it." f 

I had written thus far when I received the following letter 
from the Mayor of Friedrichshafen, Wiirtemberg : 

WORTHY SIR : The official records here show that Nicholas 
Ney married Catharine Rossman, of Buchhorn. The grand- 

* Neu and Ney, it must be remembered, are entirely different names. 
When was Neu converted into Ney, and for what reason ? 

f In writing the biography of Ney I simply followed the accepted his- 
torical accounts as to his birth, parentage, etc. 








\(n& May 24, 1699). 


(n'e Oct. 27, 1738). 

(n Jan'y 10, 1769). 


father of Catharine Bossman was Michael Bothmund. His 
daughter, Anna Maria Bothmund, married a Bossman in 
France. From that marriage sprang Catharine Bossman. 
Catharine Bossman married Nicholas Ney, a cooper at Saar- 
Louis. They had two children : 

1. Michael, Field Marshal of France, Duke of Elchingen, 

Prince of the Moskowa. 

2. Margaretha, who married Claude Monnier. 

Francisca Bothmund died at Markdorf in 1798, and left a leg- 
acy of two hundred florins to her niece, Catharine Ney, nee 
Bossman, mother of the French Marshal Key. The legacy 
remained unpaid for many years, and was finally paid to two 
poor relatives of Catharine Ney, nee Bossman, who were then 
living at Friedrichshafen. I enclose copies of two official 
documents which may be of service to you : 


" I, the undersigned, Aglae Louise Auguie, widow of Mon- 
sieur Michel Ney, Prince de la Moskowa, Duke of Elchingen, 
declare by these presents, in the name of my sons, Napoleon 
Joseph Ney, Prince de la Moskowa ; Louis Felix Ney, Duke 
of Elchingen ; Eugene Michel Ney, and Napoleon Henri 
Edgar Ney, that I renounce in favor of the natural heirs of 
Madame Francisca Bothmund, deceased in 1798, at Mark- 
dorf, grand baillage de Tettnang, Boyaume de Wiirtemberg, 
that part which comes to my sons of a sum of two hundred 
florins bequeathed by the Dame Francisca Bothmund to her 
niece, Madame Catharine Ney, nee Bossman, mother of the 
late Monsieur le Marechal, Prince de la Moskowa, Due 
d' Elchingen. Done at the Chateau of Coudreaux, near Cha- 
teaudun, Department of Eure and Loire, the 15th day of 
June, 1823. 

" (Signed.) A. L. AUGUIE, 

" Princess de la Moskowa. 

" Attest : LEAN FOUCAULT, Maire." 

" 1, the undersigned, Marguerite Ney, widow of Monsieur 


Claude Monnier, declare by these presents that I renounce in 
favor of the natural heirs of Madame Francisca Eothmund, 
deceased in 1798, at Markdorf, grand baillage de Tettnang^ 
Eoyaume de Wiirtemberg, that part which falls to my share 
of a sum of two hundred (200) florins, bequeathed by said 
Dame Francisca Eothmund to her niece, Madame Catharine 
Key, nee Eossman, my mother. 

" Done at Malgrange, near Nancy, the 29th day of June, 

" (Signed.) VEUVE MONNIEB. 

" Attest : JEAN JOSEPH ABRY, Maire." 

I have the honor to be, etc., 

SCHMIDT, Mayor of Friedrichshafen. 

According to the statements of the historic Matthias Key 
family, Margaret Key was the sister of Marshal Key, and 
married Monsieur Claude Monnier. 

These documents then prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt, 
that Marshal Key's mother was Catharine Eossman, not Mar- 
garetha Graffin, or Margaretha Groewelinger, or Margaretha 

The documentary evidence is very strong I may say con- 
clusive. It cannot be overthrown. It greatly strengthens 
the testimony of the witnesses. Indeed, it makes it substan- 
tially unassailable from any standpoint whatever. The hand- 
writing of P. S. Key is remarkably like that of Marshal Key, 
yet altogether unlike it in the sense of servile imitation. I care 
little for expert opinion as to the value of comparative hand- 
writings. The authorship of the Junian letters, says a high 
authority, has been " attributed by professional experts to 
thirty-seven persons." * There is an expression, an individu- 
ality, a life about handwriting that cannot be explained or de- 

* I have not the slightest doubt that Burke was Junius. Sir Philip 
Francis could not have written the Junian letters. Macaulay's argument 
is as weak as water. Contemporary opinion ascribed the authorship to 
Burke, and "contemporary opinion," says Burke's biographer, "as 
formed from a variety of minor circumstances, which do not come within 
the knowledge of future inquirers, is perhaps on such occasions the 
truest." Contemporary opinion pointed strongly to P. S. Ney as Marshal 


scribed. The handwriting of every man or woman is of 
necessity informed or saturated with the writer's own person- 
ality, and cannot be recognized by strokes, turns, curves, 
angles, nourishes, etc. In all such matters every one must 
judge for one's self. Professional opinion is not seldom of 
far less value than non-professional. The skull and chin of 
P. S. Ney, so far as I am able to judge by the illustrations, 
were precisely like those of Marshal Ney. The statement of 
Colonel Melody as a Mason is very significant. It is suffi- 
cient to say that its importance cannot be overestimated. The 
testimony of Mr. R. A. Henderson is of the highest value. 
Of no less importance is the fact, attested by several witnesses, 
that P. S. Ney was recognized as Marshal Ney by persons of 
reputable character who had known him or seen him in France 
or other portions of Europe. The most valuable witness is 
Peter S. Ney himself. By all the rules of evidence his state- 
ments, oral and written, are entitled to the highest credibility. 
The testimony of the witnesses without exception (to say 
nothing of the circumstantial evidence) is that P. S. Ney's 
mind was sound, clear, and strong, and that his character was 
pure, honest, and upright. There could be no more capable, 
competent, truthful witness. Peter S. Ney, when perfectly 
sober, said to a few confidential bosom friends that he was 
Marshal Ney. When in wine intoxicated or entre deux vins 
he often publicly declared he was Marshal Ney. Such 
declarations must have much weight with thinking people. 
Men under the influence of intoxicants have no delusions. 
They are imprudent and indiscreet, but they tell the truth. 
One's real character comes out when one is intoxicated or par- 
tially intoxicated. " In wine is truth." This old saying 
comes down to us strengthened and fortified by the universal 
observation and experience of mankind. The poem which 
P. S. Ney wrote in Mrs. Dalton's album, and afterward in 
Miss Allison's album, alone proves (as 1 have stated) that he 
was Marshal Ney. Take the first stanza : 

" Though I of the chosen the choicest, 

To fame gave her loftiest tone, 
Though I 'mong the brave was the bravest, 

My plume and mv baton are gone." 


Marshal Ney was called the bravest of the brave a name 
given him by Napoleon himself, and by which he was univer- 
sally known. A marshal only was entitled to the baton. The 
last two lines prove conclusively that P. S. Ney was Marshal 
Ney. Again, in his poem entitled " A Rover," we find evi- 
dence of the same character : 

" High on the pyramid of fame, 
The bravest of the brave, my name 
Shall shine 

But the strongest evidence (with the single exception, per- 
haps, of P. S. Ney' s dying declaration) is to be found in the 
' ' Memoirs of Napoleon' ' referred to in the documentary evi- 
dence. On page 315 the author says, " Had it not been for 
the delay of Marshal Ney he might have secured this posi- 
tion," etc. P. S. Ney replies : " Delay ! Say the emperor 
took away my reserve /" The italicized words are written in 
shorthand. On page 316 we read in the text : " He [Ney] 
was joined by Count d'Erlon with the corps of reserve." 
P. S. Ney says, " Count d'Erlon * was catted away (or off) 
l>y Napoleon, who crippled my movement. ' ' The italicized 
words are written in shorthand. P. S. Ney's dying declara- 

* It is well known that Ney's reserve of twenty thousand men, com- 
manded by Count D'Erlon, was called off by Napoleon. If Ney had had 
D'Erlon's troops at Quatre Bras he would have defeated Wellington. 
Napoleon gained a barren victory at Ligny. The Prussians fought well, 
and if they had been commanded by a first-class general Napoleon would 
have been defeated. Even Bltlcher would have been victorious if Bdlow 
had been present, as he ought to have been, and would have been but for 
an inexcusable and criminal blunder. Napoleon owed most of his great 
victories to the fact that the opposing armies were commanded by third- 
rate generals. Suppose a man like Wellington had been in command of 
the enemy's forces at Arcola, at Marengo, at Ulm, at Jena, at Eylau, at 
Essling, at Borodino, at Dresden, at Ligny ; every fair-minded man must 
admit that Napoleon would have been badly whipped. It is high time to 
assign Napoleon his proper place in military history. Napoleon himself 
acknowledged that Wellington was a better general than he was. To 
General Bertrand he said, " The Duke of Wellington, in the management 
of an army, is fully equal to myself, with the advantage of possessing 
more prudence." To Captain Paget, of the English army, Napoleon said, 
" I have no hesitation in saying that Wellington is a better general than 



tion is confessedly of the highest possible value. In the pres- 
ence of death, with an unclouded mind, with a full sense of 
the responsibility which he assumed, he solemnly declared to 
his attending physician and others that he was Marshal Ney 
of France. 

To me the fame of Marshal Ney is very dear it is sacred. 
If Peter S. Ney had lived a bad, a dishonorable life in this 
country I would not have touched the investigation. I would 
have left the " bravest of the brave" " alone in his glory." 
But if P. S. Ney was Marshal Ney, as I firmly believe he was, 
then his career in the United States reflects as much credit 
upon him as his management of the rear guard in the Russian 
retreat. The great soldier wished to redeem his life, and he 
did redeem it gloriously. If possible, he was greater in peace 
than he was in war. 

A few minutes before his death P. S. Ney became delirious. 
In this condition he died. Mr. O. G. Foard says that his last 
words, spoken in delirium, were these: "Bessieres is dead 
and the Old Guard is defeated ; now let me die." * Marshal 
Ney had often led the Old Guard to victory, and they had 
gone down with him on the battle-field of Waterloo. Mar- 
shal Bessieres, the loved and honored commander of the Old 
Guard, was killed at the defile of Rippach in 1813, the day 
before the battle of Lutzen. Napoleon and Ney, who was 
much attached to Bessieres, for they were very much alike 
in character, were riding by the side of the marshal at the 
time of his death. A white cloth was instantly thrown over 
his body to conceal the knowledge of his death from the army, 
and from the Old Guard in particular. The death of Bes- 
sieres made a deep, a profound impression upon Napoleon, 
Ney, and the entire army. The Old Guard loved Bessieres 
with the tenderest, the most devoted affection. It was natural 
that Ney, in his last moments, should link them together 
Bessieres and the Old Guard. Like Stonewall Jackson, f de- 

* Correspondent of the New York Herald, Turnersburg, N. C., 

f Wellington, Ney, Stonewall Jaekson soldiers like these can conquer 
the world. 



lirious and dying : " A. P. Hill [his right arm], prepare for 
action." " Bessieres is dead, and the Old Guard is defeated ; 
now let me die." With these words upon his lips the war- 
worn soldier passed over the river. 




(See P. 8. Key's note, page 229.) 

ALL this is doubtless true. Napoleon himself, according to Emerson, 
was a " boundless liar," and little confidence is to be placed in his state- 
ments about the matter. Besides, as P. S. Ney intimates, Napoleon had 
special reasons for telling these falsehoods reasons which if not good 
inforo conscientias, might be considered as valid or venial by the world at 
large. That there was a conspiracy or plot to bring Napoleon back to 
France is now admitted by all candid historians. Indeed, I think it was 
never seriously doubted at any time. Napoleon at Elba was in constant 
communication with France. His old soldiers were sent from Elba to 
France to corrupt the army, and to prepare the way for his coming. 
These were his vanguard. Signs and watchwords had been agreed upon 
between him and his friends in France "signs," says Lamartine, 
" which he alone could read, and of which the emissaries who brought 
them, under various pretexts, did not themselves know the importance or 
signification." Three persons especially had promised Napoleon at Fon- 
tainebleau to " inform him of what was going on in France, and to give 
the signal for his return." These were Maret, Duke of Bassano, Savary, 
and Lavalette. In the following fall and winter the friends of Napoleon 
became very bold and confident, and seemed almost openly to defy the 
government itself. Full details of the conspiracy were communicated to 
the French Government, but it took no notice of them. Bonaparte cared 
nothing for his abdication. He told General Kohler and others that he 
would revoke it in a moment if he thought he could succeed in regaining 
his throne. This was some days after the abdication had been formally 
and authoritatively made and ratified. He said his abdication was farced ; 
that he was overwhelmed by foreign mercenaries and traitors ; that as it 
was extorted from him by force and treason, it was not binding, and he 
had a right to revoke it or annul it at any time for the good of France. 
The safety and welfare of the State was the supreme law. Of course 
arguments of this kind might easily be made to apply to Ney and the 
other officers who took the oath of allegiance to Louis XVIII. There can 
be no doubt that there was a perfect understanding between Bonaparte, 
Ney, and others that Bonaparte was in due time to return from Elba as 
the Emperor of France, whose reign had been interrupted, but not over- 
thrown and destroyed. There can be no doubt, as P. 8. Ney says, that 
" the scheme of the plot was formed," that the " return was preconcerted 
before Napoleon quitted Fontainebleau for Elba." Marshal Ney on his 
trial said he knew nothing of Bonaparte's return until several days after 


his disembarkation at Cannes ; that there was no plot, no conspiracy to 
bring him back from Elba ; that he (Ney) was entirely loyal to Louis 
XVIII. until March 14th, when he saw that the king's cause was hope- 
less, and that he then went over to Napoleon to prevent the breaking out 
of a civil war. But these statements which Ney made on his trial (to save 
his life) are at variance with those which he made before his trial. Baron 
Capelle said that Marshal Ney told him that the return of Bonaparte was 
contrived by him (Marshal Ney), other marshals, the Minister of War 
(Soult), and Madame Hortense. Generals Bounnont and Lacourbe said 
Ney told them that everything had been arranged for three months for 
Bonaparte's return, and that if they had been in Paris they would have 
known it. The Count de la Genetiere said that after Ney had read the 
proclamation, he said to the persons around him," The return of Napoleon 
has been arranged for three months." 

Count de Faverney said that Marshal Ney informed him that measures 
had been taken beforehand to render the defection of the troops inevi- 

Captain Casse, of the Forty-second Regiment, stated that Ney said to 
him, " I had no idea of fighting for the king. Had he given me twenty 
times the value of the Tuileries, I would not have served him. I bore the 
emperor in my heart. " Other witnesses stated that the marshal said Bona- 
parte's return had been concerted a long time ; that he had been in corre- 
spondence with the isle of Elba, and knew of Napoleon's intended depar- 
ture, etc. 

Now it is impossible to doubt the truth of these statements, considering 
the character of the persons who made them, and considering all the 
circumstances of the case. Marshal Ney, on his trial, solemnly de- 
clared they were false in order to save his life. That is the simple truth 
of the matter. But it may be said that I am dragging down my hero, that 
I make his treason greater than it was before. So be it. Let us have the 
truth. Ney's character is so solid, so grand that it will bear a great many 
flaws. After all, the flaws may not be so great as they appear to be. 
Marshal Ney was the truest of patriots. He loved his country with a de- 
votion which has never been surpassed, perhaps never equalled. His 
whole life was bound up in his country's welfare. Even amid the horrors 
of the Russian retreat he thought only of the honor and glory of France. 
His love of France dominated every other feeling, and seemed to elevate 
his character above human environments, to make him indeed almost more 
than man. "Everything for France." That was Ney's motto, Ney's 
creed, Ney's religion. He could say, as no other man perhaps could say, 

" I know my country, for her soul is mine." 

So when Napoleon abdicated at Fontainebleau, Ney very readily entered 
into his plans. He felt that the Bourbon rule would be utterly ruinous to 
his country, that Napoleon was the rightful ruler of France, that the people 
had solemnly repudiated the Bourbons and had chosen Napoleon as their 
lawful sovereign, and that the " voice of the people was the voice of God. " 


Napoleon, though in chains, was still the Emperor of France, and Ney be- 
lieved it was his highest duty to aid in restoring him to that throne to which 
the people had elevated him, and from which he had been treasonably and 
unlawfully expelled. He would take the oath of allegiance to the Bour- 
bon Government because the good of his country for the time being 
seemed to demand it. He would be loyal to the king so long only as the 
king was loyal to France. Fidelity to France was the only fidelity he 
acknowledged. Such was Ney's position. Patriotism was, as I have 
said, his master passion ; it swallowed up every other feeling, every other 
thought. Ney was a child of the Revolution, impulsive, trained in camps, 
little accustomed to reason on abstract principles of right and wrong ; 
and, above all, he was under the influence of Napoleon, his master, almost 
his god, who had taught him that any crime, however great, is justifiable 
in the interest of the State, for the good of one's people and country. I 
cannot say Ney was right. I believe he was wrong ; but no one can ques- 
tion the purity and sincerity of his motives. He was honest ; there was 
no treason in his heart. We can but admire and commend his conscien- 
tious devotion to duty as he understood it. He erred, like Wellington, 
but it was an error of the head, and not of the heart. He was not so bad 
as the great Duke of Marlborough, who, while professing unlimited loy- 
alty to his sovereign, corresponded regularly with the Pretender, and acted 
grossly a double part. In war and in times of high political excitement 
many persons of good reputation will commit gross offences against 
morality and honor for the " good of their country," which they would 
not think of committing as private individuals. Even the Duke of Wel- 
lington half-way justifies Talleyrand's treachery at the Congress at Erfurt, 
when, as Napoleon's confidential adviser and minister, he went secretly 
every evening to the house of the Emperor Alexander, and gave him a 
full and detailed account of everything that Napoleon had said to him 
(Talleyrand) during the day. It was the grossest kind of treason, without 
any mitigating circumstances whatever, and yet Wellington calls it a gost 
of treachery, as not exactly justifiable, but somewhat excusable under the 
circumstances. Wellington also said that many men, and RESPECTABLE 
ones, in employment under Napoleon had been in constant communication 
with the Duke of Orleans. (See ' ' Greville Memoirs. ' ') 

Sir Walter Scott states that if the Pretender had succeeded in his designs 
on England, many Englishmen of character and influence would have 
taken the oath of allegiance to him with the deliberate intention ultimately 
to dethrone and destroy him. Judge Gaston, of North Carolina, in 1832 
argued himself into the belief (honestly, I doubt not) that he had a perfect 
right to do that which the Constitution of North Carolina expressly for- 
bade him to do. I once mentioned this subject to Judge Ruftln the 
younger, the ablest lawyer, in my opinion, the State has ever produced- 
not even excepting Chief Justice Pearson. I said to Judge Ruffln, ' ' Judge 
Gaston's argument seems to me to be unworthy of so great a man. It i 
the veriest hair-splitting. How could Judge Gaston say that he believed 
all that Protestants believe, when the very life blood of Protestantism is its 


opposition to very much of Roman Catholic faith and Roman Catholic 
teaching ? That is an essential part of the truth of the Protestant religion. 
Roman Catholics deny that Protestants teach the truth. How, then, could 
Judge Gaston, as a Roman Catholic, say that he believed all that Protes- 
tants believe ?" Judge Ruffin's face was a study. He straightened him- 
self up and looked off in the distance for a few moments. Then he turned 
to me and said, with an emphasis which no one could mistake, " Well, he 
said it anyhow." 

Some of the greatest reformers in this country men occupying the high- 
est positions in Church and State openly countenance the most flagrant 
violations both of the laws of God and man because of the probable good 
that may result from such immoralities and crimes. I cannot excuse Ney, 
but I have put him in very respectable company. After all, it is the only 
dark spot in his whole career. What a grand testimony to the greatness 
of the man ! We cannot excuse him, but we love him and we honor him. 



a, e 7 an, any, one. 

b 6 be, by, because, 

d / do, due, done. 

f , v f" if, off, of, often. 

g, j go, gone, joy, again, 
h / he, have, high. 

i I, eye, idea, 

k, c hard * can, know, known. 

1 6 all, the whole. 

m ^ me, my, may. 

n t/ in, on, no. 

o, u f f ! owe, owing. 

p / People, persons, 

qu p question, quality. 

r / are, or, our, ear, air. 

s, z, c soft say, see, as, so, us, use. 

t / it, at, to, too. 

w *"x we, with, way. 

x y~ example, except. 

y i/ ye. y u y ur . y 6 *- 

ch C -^ such, each. 

8 h C she, shall, show, 

th f the, thee, they, 

wh S^s who, which. 


The world Q 

And fj 

Mute letters and 

medial vowels 


A dot ( ) over 

any character 
means em, im, in, 

etc. Thus : 

Many characters 
are omitted. 


/* impose 


MRS. MARY C. D ALTON, in her testimony (see page 154), says : " One day, 
about dark, a stranger rode up to our gate and asked father if he could 
stop with him that night. We had a good deal of company at the time, 
and every room was occupied. My father told him that he was sorry he 
could not accommodate him ; but the young man insisted, and said he 
was willing to sleep on the floor, and that his horse being tired and com- 
pletely worn out, he could go no farther. My father then told him that 
if he could suit himself to circumstances he would be glad to have him 
remain. The stranger, a fine-looking man, thanked him and went in. 
When he was conducted in to supper he took a seat at the table opposite 
Mr. Ney, who was occupying his usual seat on the left hand of my father. 
They glanced at each other, and though not a word was spoken it was 
evident to all present that it was a glance of recognition. My mother said 
a sign passed between them. Immediately after tea Mr. Ney and the 
stranger, taking their hats, left the house together, and were not seen by 
the family any more that night. An old negro man (Frederick) reported 
that he saw them near midnight sitting behind a straw stack in the field 
in close conversation, and, although unobserved by them, could hear them 
distinctly, but could not understand a word they said. The stranger 
ordered his horse very early the next morning and left. He gave no in- 
formation about himself except in a general way. After the man had 
gone Mr. Ney went to his room and remained in it all that day, reading 
and writing. He never made any allusion to the matter, and we had too 
much respect for him to question him about it. The stranger had black 
hair, black eyes, and a dark complexion. This incident happened, I think, 
in 1834 or 1835." 

Since this book went to press the author has received a letter from a for- 
eign gentleman of high character and position, in which he says : " I am 
acquainted with the history of Peter S. Ney prior to his escape to the 
United States of America. Many years ago, when I was a young man, I 
visited your country for the express purpose of communicating with him. 
I found him in Rowan County, North Carolina, teaching school. He was 
boarding with a planter. After supper we retired to a straw stack, where 
we spent the night in talking over past matters. I never saw him after- 
ward. The identity of Peter S. Ney has been a profound secret. He was 
a fugitive from justice, and many persons in France were accessory to his 
.escape. If Peter S. Ney had revealed his identity in America his friends 


in France who aided in his escape would have suffered death. Even now, 
perhaps, his identity cannot fully be made known. ... He was born 
January 10th, 1769." 

The name of this writer cannot be given. It is known only to my pub- 
lisher, Mr. Thomas Whittaker, and myself. 



Adams, Dr. J. R. B., Testimony of, 105. 
Allison, Dr. J. A., Testimony of, 181. 
Almeida captured, 43. 
Alphabet, Shorthand, of P. S. Ney, 303, 304. 
Andrews, James, Testimony of, 186. 
Arunca River, English driven to, 45. 
Auguie, Mile., Ney married to, 21. 
Aurillac, Ney arrested near, 91. 
Austin, Mrs. E. D., Testimony of, 221. 
Auxerre, Meeting of Ney and Napoleo 

Bancroft, George, Letter from, 175. 
Barber, Joseph, Testimony of, 186. 
Barber, Rev. R. W., Testimony of, 215. 
Barringer, Hon. V. C., Testimony of, 180. 
Bautzen, Battle of, 74. 
Beale, Mrs. G. N., Testimony of, 199. 
Beresima, Passage of the, 70. 
Bernadotte, Army of Observation of, 11. 

routs Marshal Oudinot, 76. 
Bertrand serves under Ney, 77. 
Bingham, Dr., Testimony of, 201. 
Borodino, Battle of, 54-57. 
Boulogne, Marshal Soult at, 28. 
Bournonville's letter to Minister of War. 9. 
Brevard, Alexander F., Testimony of, 200. 
Briqueville, Ney rescues, 64. 
Bunn, Hon. H. G., Testimony of, 164. 
Busaco, Massena repulsed at, 43-45. 
Butler, John A., Testimony of, 195. 


Cain, P. H., Testimony of, 180. 

Cambronne's surrender, 99. 

Campbell, Mrs. S. A., Testimony of, 172. 

Cauchy informs Ney of his sentence, 93, 94. 

Celorico, Massena and Ney quarrel at, 49-51. 

Chamber of Peers, Trial of Ney by, 92, 93. 

Charles, Archduke, defeated, 18. 

Ciudad Rodrigo captured, 43. 

Claveau, Statement of, 120. 

Clement, Mrs., Testimony of. 139. 

Coa, Battle of, 43. 

Cole, General, at Redinha, 46. 

Conciergerie, Ney imprisoned in the 91. 

Condeixa, Ney blamed for burning, 48. 

Corunna, Ney stations himself at, 43. 

Crawfurd, General, defeated by Ney, 43. 


Dalton, Mrs. M. C., Testimony of, 153. 
Daltpn, Dr. Robert H., Testimony of, 170. 
Danikowa, Ney's stratagem at, 63. 
" Danville Times, 1 ' Testimony of Editor of, 169. 
Davout, General, at Borodino, 55. 
Dennewitz, Ney defeated at, 75. 

Deppen. Retreat from, 38. 
D'Henin, General, at the Dnieper, 65, 66. 
Dierdorf, Action near, 10. 
Dnieper, Ney crosses on ice, 63, 64. 
Documentary evidence as to P. 8. Ney'a Iden- 
tity, 227-256. 

Dresden, Napoleon surprised at, 75. 
Duke of Elchingen (see " Ney"), 84. 
Dupin's effort to save Ney, 92. 

Elchingen, Ney's brilliant victory at, 32, 33. 
Ems, Ney's stratagem at, 20. 
England, Plans for invading, 25, 26, 28-30. 
Ennis, J. H., Testimony of, 181. 
Ervin, Witherspoon, Testimony of, 162. 
Evidence, Documentary, as to P. S. Ney's 
identity, 227-256. 

summary of, 279-297. 
Eylau, Battle of, 38. 


Fezensac's march to the Dnieper, 65-67. 

Fleurus, Battle of, 5. 

Foard, Archie, Testimony of, 223. 

Foard, Mrs. O. G., Testimony of, 224. 

Folk, Colonel G. N., Testimony of, 200. 

Foote, Major J. H., Testimony of, 193. 

Forchheim, Surrender of, 7. 

Fraser's, Sir William, account of Ney's execu- 
tion, 118. 
doubts of Ney's death, 120. 

Friedland, Ney at the battle of, 39. 

Friedrichshafen, Mayor of, Letter from, 290, 
92, 293. 


Gaither, Burgess, Testimony of, 189. 

Gaither, David, Testimony of, 192. 

Galicia occupied by Nev, 42, 43. 

Gamot, Madame, visits Ney in prison, 94. 

Gay, Rev. J. L., Testimony of, 177. 

Genealogy of Ney family, 288-293, (table) 291. 

Giessen, Defeat at, 10. 

Gillot's, General, letter to Ney, 17. 

Glrard, General, defeated at Leibnitz, 76. 

Graham, A. H., Testimony of, 205. 

Graham, Colonel C. C., Testimony of, 180. 

Graham, Thomas D., Testimony of, 2S2. 

Gross-Beeren, Battle at, 76. 

Guarda Mountain, Repulse at, 51, 52. 

Guntzburg, Battle at, 31. 

Hall, Hon. J. G.. Testimony of, 170. 

Hall, Mrs , Testimony of, 184. 

Hall, N. F., Testimony of. 208. 

Harlee, General W. W., Testimony of, 169. 



Haslach, Battle of, 31. 
Haye Sainte, La, Capture of, 88. 
Haynes, William M., Testimony of, 183. 
Heidelberg, Victory of Ney at, 18. 
Heilbronn, Engagement at, 15. 
Helper, H. H., Testimony of, 200. 
Henderson, R. A., Testimony of, 220. 
Hill, General D. H., Testimony of, 208. 
Hill, Mrs. D. H., Testimony of, 209. 
History, Notable errors in, 98-103. 
Hoche, Ney 's letter to, and reply, 9-11. 
Hohenlinden, Battle of, 20. 
Hohenlohe, Prince, defeated by Ney, 18, 19. 
Houston, Colonel Thos. F., Testimony of, 147. 
Hughes, Mrs. S. N., Testimony of, 210. 
Hutchinsou's, Madame, efforts to save Ney, 
111, 112. 

Ingolstadt, Victory of Ney at, 19, 20. 
Ireland's, W. H., account, 121. 
Irwin, H. M., Testimony of, 209. 


Jena, Battle of, 34, 35. 

Jetton, John L., Testimony of, 198. 

John, Archduke, retreats to Vienna, 34. 

John Charles', Baron, opinion concerning 

Ney's ancestry, 289. 

Jones, M.D., Rev. Basil G., Testimony of, 201. 
Jourdan and K16ber, Quarrel of, 6. 

writes to Ney, 8, 9. 
Junot, General, at Valoutina, 54. 
Jurney, Dr. P. C., Testimony of, 196. 

Katzbach, Macdouald defeated at the, 76. 

Kaya, Attack at, 74. 

Kleber and Jourdan, Quarrel of, 6. 
praises Ney, 8. 

Klix, Victory at, 74. 

Knittel's, Pastor, testimony concerning Ney's 
ancestry, 289. 

KSnigsberg, Ney's foraging near, 37. 

Koutousofc, General, demands Ney's surren- 
der, 60. 

Kowns, Defence of. 71-73. 

Krasnoi, Battle of, 60, 61. 


Lamarche, General Ney under, 5. 
Landamman's, The, letter to Ney, 23, 24. 
Lavalette, General, Escape of, 124. 
Lecourbe, General, assumes command, 18. 
Lefol, Adjutant-General, at Mauheim, 16. 
Legrand's, General, letter to Ney, 18. 
Leibnitz, Defeat at, 76. 
Leinster, Frederick, Testimony of, 185. 
Leipsic, Ney's energy at, 78, 79. 
Lestocq, General, at Soldau, 36. 

at Eylau, 38. 

Leval's, General, letter to Ney, 17. 
Lichtenstein, Prince, defeated by Ney, 18. 
Lille, Ney sent by Napoleon to, 83. 
Lingle, Moses, Testimony of, 208. 
Loison, General, Ney's command given to, 49. 
Louis XVIH. insults Wellington, 112, 113. 
Lugo, Ney ordered to fortify, 43. 
Luneville, Treaty of peace at, 20. 
Lutzen, Battle of, 73, 74. 
Luxembourg, Ney's execution near the, 116. 


Macdonald, Marshal, defeated, 76. 
Mack surrenders to Ney at Ulm, 33, 34. 

Maestricht, Ney at the siege of, 6. 
Magdeburg, Surrender of, 36. 
Manheim, Capture of, 11-13. 

Evacuation of, 16. 
Massena, Marshal, Ney compared with, 1. 

writes to Ney, 15. 

quarrels with Ney, 49, 51, 

moral weakness of, 49. 
Maternite, Hospital of the, Ney's body taken 

to, 121. 

Mayence, Ney at the siege of, 6. 
McBee. Vardry A., Testimony of, 165. 
McCulloh, James, Testimony of, 174. 
McKnight, Joseph, Testimony of, 186. 
Merlin's Letter to Ney, 7. 
Miles, Pliny, takes P. S. Ney's papers, 148, 

159, 173, 176, 195, 225. 
Miller, George A., Testimony of, 204. 
Montbrun, General, atCoa, 43. 
Montreuil, Ney appointed commander-in-chief 

of, 25. 
Moreau, Ney serves under, 19. 

killed at Dresden, 75. 
Morrison, D.D., Rev. R. H., Testimony of, 


Moscow, Retreat from, 57. 
Moskva, Battle of the, 54-57. 
Muller, General, recalled, 16. 
Mumford, Giles E., Testimony of, 173. 
Murat, Prince, Ney's quarrel with, 31-33. 

at Borodino, 55. 
Murcelha, Ponte de, Ney abandons, 48. 


Napier, Major, Ney's kindness to, 41. 
Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, 28. 

Ney's letter from, 21 . 

at Madrid, 39, 40. 

at Borodino, 55, 56. 

esteem for Ney, 68, 69. 

surprised at Lutzen, 74. 

abdication of, 79, 80. 

last campaign of, 83. 

untruthfulness of, 299. 
Neu, General, at Ingolstadt, 19. 
Ney, Madame (see also " Auguie"). 

character, 80, 81. 

last visit to Marshal Ney, 94. 

death of, 130. 
Ney, Marshal, Duke of Elchingen, 34. 

Prince de la Moskowa, 54, 55. 

birthplace, 3. 

early training, 3. 

leaves home, 4. 

arrival at Metz, 4. 

duel with a fencing-master, 4. 

aide-de-camp to General Lamarche, 5. 

wounded at Mayence, 6. 

brigadier-general, 8. 

prisoner at Giessen, 10. 

horsemanship, 11. 

at Manheim, 12. 

general of division, 13, 14. 

letter to war minister, 13. 

war minister's letter to, 14. 

transferred to Army of Switzerland, 14. 

wounded at Winterthur, 14, 15. 

ordered to Army of Rhine, 15. 

wounded at Manheim, 16. 

commander-in-chief, 16. 

circular upon assuming command, 16, 17. 

marriage to Mile. Auguie, 21. 

minister-plenipotentiary, 22. 

writes his " Military Studies," 27. 

marshal, 28. 

campaign in the Tyrol, 34. 

bold incursions of, 37. 



Ney, Quarrel with Masse"na, 49-51. 

at battle of Borodino, 54-56 

bravery at the Borysthenes, 57, 58 

bravery at Kowno, 73. 

saves Marshal St. Cyr, 75. 

letters to Napoleon after Dennewitz, 78. 

dislike for society, 80, 81. 

rejoins Napoleon, 81. 

flight after Waterloo, 90. 

Turkish sabre of, 90, 91 . 

arrest at Bessonis, 91. 

imprisonment of, 91. 

letter to Wellington, 108. 

trial of, 91-93, 300. 

conviction of, 93. 

last hours of, 93-95. 

execution of, 95-115. 

official report of execution, 118. 

death of. 97. 

burial of, in Pere la Chaise, 122, 123. 

grave of, 130. 

statue of, 130. 

genealogy of, 288-293. 

patriotism of, 301. 
Ney, Peter, 3. 
Ney, Peter Stuart, 97. 

account of himself, 133. 

age of, 141, 205. 

appearance (personal), 135, 136, 138, 139, 
140, 147, 149, 165, 166, 171, 172, 181, 184 
191, 193, 202, 279. 

battle of Bautzen, after, 281. 

burial-place of, 166. 

burns his papers, 136, 138, 145, 148, 182. 

character of, 146, 153, 280. 

choice of name, 286, 287. 

death of, 168, 222, 223. 

drinking habit of, 139, 146, 149, 155, 161, 

execution described by him, 144, 150, 183, 

fencing skill, 137, 143, 151, 182, 194, 196, 208. 
foreigners recognize him, 136, 151, 159,211, 


handwriting of, 293, 294. 
horsemanship, 136, 161, 169, 181, 182, 206, 

languages, knowledge of, 140, 141, 201, 202. 
Louis XVIII., his contempt for, 142. 
mathematics, knowledge of, 140, 192. 
military knowledge, 137, 193, 217. 
stranger, visit of a, to him, 154, 182. 
Napoleon, his opinion of, 141. 153, 171. 
sorrow on the death of, 145, 148, 173, 174, 

Ney, Marshal, his claim to be, 133, 144, 

149, 155, 224, 225. 
orator, as an, 138. 
Russian expedition, his account of, 141, 

150, 187. 

scars, 137, 147, 208, 222. 
scholarship of, 140, 149, 285, 286. 
seclusion, desire for, 147, 194. 
shorthand alphabet, 303, 304. 
shorthand notes, 295. 
stenography, knowledge of, 148, 193, 195. 
suicide, attempt at, 136, 138, 162. 
teacher, sternness as a, 146, 160, 167, 168, 


visit of stranger to, 305, 306. 
Waterloo, his description of, 142, 188, 190, 

Wellington, references to, 142, 190. 

words, last, 296. 

wounds, 137, 143, 161, 168, 188, 283. 
Niemen, Crossing of the, 72. 
Nuremberg, Ney's capture of, 8. 

Oporto, Soult's defeat at, 2. 

Oudinot, Marshal, routed, 76. 

serves under Ney, 77. 


Pack, General, at Redinha, 46. 
Paris, Surrender of, 79. 
Capitulation of, 90. 
Partisans, The, 5 
Peers condemn Ney, 103. 

pd iS l i& h&ise Cemetery > Ne y buried in 

Philipsburg paroled, 13. 
Picton, General, at Redinha, 46. 
Plutoff's, General, attacks on Teolino, 67. 

Porabal, Combat at, 45. 

Portugal, Invasion of, 43. 

Prince de la Moskowa (see " Ney"), 64, 66. 


Quatre Bras, Engagement at, 85-87. 

Ramsay, Dr. J. G., Testimony of, 217. 
Redinha, Battle of, 46, 48. 
Regnier, General, Conduct of, 48. 

disobedience of Ney's orders, 77. 
Reinhardt, Wallace M., Testimony of, 160. 
Rhine, Ney ordered to Army of the, 15. 
Richelieu, Duke de, pleads for Ney, 104, 105. 
Rockwell, D.D., Rev. E. F., Testimony of, 174 
Rogers, Captain F. M., Testimony of, 158. 
Rogers, Colonel John A., Testimony of, 135. 
Rohan, Prince of, 34. 
Russia, Expedition to, 53. 

Retreat from, 57. 
Russian treachery, 60. 


Sanders, J. W., Testimony of, 211. 
Schliter's. Mrs. Elizabeth, testimony concern- 
ing Ney's ancestry, 289. 
Schwartzenburg, General, Ney's stratagem 
with, 20. 

advances upon Dresden, 75. 
Shepherd, Mrs. George F.. Testimony of, 223. 
Sloan, Elizabeth P., Testimony of, 208. 
Smolensko, Council at, 64. 
Triple danger near, 58. 

Smorgoni, Napoleon returns to Paris from, 71. 
Snyder, Daniel, Testimony of, 212. 
Soldau, Capture of the village of, 36. 
Soria, Napoleon blames Ney at, 40. 
Soult, Marshal, compared with Ney, 1. 

jealous of Ney, 42. 
Spain, Ney ordered to, 39. 
Spainhour, Dr. James M., Testimony of, 218. 
Spencer, General, at Redinha, 46. 
St. Cyr, Marshal, at Dresden, 75. 
St. Louis " Republic," Testimony of, 221. 
Steele, John M.. Testimony of, 294. 
Stettin, Ney defeats Austrians at, 19. 
Stevenson, William S., Testimony of, 218, 
Stirewalt, Valentine, Testimony of, 219. 
Swain, lion. David L., Testimony of, 178. 
Sweden, Crown Prince of, defeats Ney. 75. 
Switzerland, Army of, Ney transferred to, 14. 




Teolino, Defence of, 67, 68. 

Testimony concerning Peter S. Ney, 135-225. 

Thorn, Capture of, 36. 

Trott, W. H., Testimony of, 184. 

Turkish sabre, Ney's, 90, 91. 

Turner, Wilfred, Testimony of, 185. 

Tyrol, Ney's campaign in the, 34. 


Ulm, Surrender of Mack at, 33, 34. 
United States, Ney in the, 132. 


Valoutina, Conflict at, 54. 
Vandamme's loss near Kulm, 76. 
Vandermassen, General, at Manheim, 16. 
Viazma and Smoiensko, Fighting between, 57. 

Vienna, Retreat of Austrians to, 34. 
Vistula, Passage of the, 36. 


Wachendv>rf, Ney family in, 289, 290. 
Waterloo, Battle of, 87-90. 
Wellington, Duke of, at Redinha, 47. 

attacked at Ouatre Bras, 87. 

at Waterloo, 87. 

insulted by Louis XVIII., 113. 

Ney's letter to, 108. 

power of, 114. 

Wheeler, Colonel J. B., Testimony of, 158. 
Winterthur, Ney wounded at, 14, 15. 
Wislok, Ney's victory at, 19. 
Wood, Dr. Daniel B., Testimony of, 217. 
Wood, Thomas S., Testimony of, 167. 
Wood, D.D., Rev. William A., Testimony of, 

Worth, Mrs. B. G., Testimony of, 172. 
Wurtzburg and Forchheim, Ney at, 7. 



DC Weston, James A. (James 

198 Angustus) 

N6W5 Historic doubts as to 

the execution of Marshal